Estimated reading time 3 minutes 3 Min

Perez wins Saudi GP in Red Bull 1-2 ahead of Verstappen

Red Bull have a second Formula One one-two in as many races, but with the positions reversed, Sergio Perez leading Max Verstappen home in the Saudi Arabian GP.

March 20, 2023
20 March 2023

Sergio Perez has won the Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix from pole and world champion Max Verstappen fought from 15th on the grid to second to give dominant Red Bull a second one-two finish from as many races this season.

Perez was briefly passed early on by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso but never looked back en route to a fifth career win when he took the lead in lap four.

Alonso thought he had repeated his feat of coming third in Bahrain two weeks ago but received a post-race 10-second penalty for incorrectly serving a five-second penalty for a wrong starting position.

That dropped him to fourth and denied him the 100th podium of his career.

“It doesn’t hurt much to be honest,” said Alonso, who questioned why it took so long for the stewards to apply the second penalty.

“I was on the podium, I did the pictures, I took the trophy, I celebrated with the champagne and now I have apparently three points less… okay, let’s try to recover in Australia.”

Mercedes driver George Russell was promoted to third . 

Australian Oscar Piastri finished 15th in his McLaren and will hope to score his first points on home soil in Melbourne on 2 April. 

McLaren boss Zak Brown tweeted: “Tough race after an unlucky start with damage to both cars on the opening lap.

“Made it too difficult to turn things around. But we tried hard. Oscar P15, Lando [Norris] P17. Time to get our season back on track in Australia.”

“That safety car again tried to take the victory away from us in Jeddah but not this time,” said Perez, who started on pole last year but was caught out by a safety car deployment and ended up fourth.

“I was on for victory last year so finally I got it,” added the Mexican, who finished 5.355 seconds clear despite the safety car cutting his early advantage.

Verstappen had moved into second by the halfway mark of the 50-lap race on the 6.174-kilometres Jeddah Corniche Course on the banks of the Red Sea but never managed to hunt down Perez.

Verstappen remained top in the standings, thanks to the extra point he snatched through the fastest race lap in the last lap. He has 44 points, Perez 43 and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso 27.

Red Bull have 87 points in the constructors’ standings with Mercedes moving up to second on 41.

Verstappen said: “It was not very easy to get through the field.

“Once I cleared them one by one we got in a good rhythm, and I am happy to be on the podium.”

Lewis Hamilton was fifth for Mercedes with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in sixth and seventh respectively. The Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were eighth and ninth and Kevin Magnussen took the final point for Haas. 

– with agencies

More in Sport