F1 2023: Perez leads Red Bull 1-2 at Saudi Arabian GP as Verstappen gains 13 positions!
The second round of the 2023 Formula 1 season came from the 6.175 km long Jeddah Corniche Circuit, i.e. the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Red Bull Racing finished the race with a sensational 1-2 led by Sergio Perez, who started the race on pole, while reigning champion Max Verstappen gained an impressive 13 positions to finish behind his teammate, and retain his position at the top of the Drivers’ standings.
All drivers started the race on mediums apart from Logan Sargeant and Lewis Hamilton, who were on hards, and Norris and Leclerc on softs. It was Fernando Alonso who got the better of pole sitter Sergio Perez on turn 1 and took the lead from the Red Bull Racing driver. However, Perez was able to recover the lead from the 2x World Champion by Lap 4 itself. After lining up incorrectly on the grid, Alonso ended up receiving a 5 second penalty.
Due to mechanical issues during Qualifying, reigning Champion Max Verstappen started the race from P15, while Charles Leclerc served a 10 place grid penalty, starting 12th on the grid. However, both the drivers were quick to gain positions. Lance Stroll stopped his Aston Martin on Lap 18, resulting in the safety car being deployed – earning the back markers a cheap pit stop.
Red Bull’s pace was truly unmatched, helping not only Sergio Perez increase his lead up front, but also help Verstappen gain positions almost effortlessly. Alex Albon’s Williams suffered brake failure, ending his race on Lap 27 – his 6th career DNF.
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Here are all the point scorers at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix –
1. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 1:21:14.894
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. George Russell (Mercedes)
4. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
7. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
9. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
10. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
In the end, Max Verstappen managed to squeeze in another point after taking the fastest lap, which means that he continues to lead the 2023 Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship. The podium was rounded off by Fernando Alonso – his 100th podium finish. This also meant that the same 3 drivers recorded a podium finish at Jeddah as the season opener two weeks ago in Bahrain.
Post-race update – After not serving the 5 second penalty properly, Fernando Alonso was handed another 10 second penalty after the podium celebrations. Hence, Mercedes’ George Russell was promoted to P3, while Alonso moved down to fourth.
Stay tuned to TOI Auto for all updates on the 2023 Formula One season, including all race reports over the season.Source