Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez put in an impressive drive to take victory on Sunday at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which served as round two of the 2023 Formula One World Championship.
His teammate, Max Verstappen, was perhaps more impressive, though. The reigning world champion recovered from 15th place to finish second and make it a one-two finish for Red Bull.
Third place went to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who also drove brilliantly, despite some setbacks. His podium appearance was the 100th of his career.
The race started with Perez on pole and Alonso also at the front of the grid. Alonso got the better start but stewards later gave him a five-second penalty as his car was off the line for the starting grid. The two would later swap positions before Perez built up a gain and comfortably held the lead to the end.
2023 F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Alonso was also given a 10-second penalty as one of his mechanics was deemed to have touched the car while the first penalty was being served, which dropped the double world champion to fourth place at the end of the race and promoted Mercedes-Benz AMG’s George Russell to third, though the stewards later reversed the decision and returned third place to Alonso.
Further back, Verstappen slowly moved up to the order, passing driver after driver without issue. However, on lap 37, with only Perez ahead, Verstappen reported a strange noise from his car and decided to slow the pace, fearing the noise might have been the same driveshaft issue that plagued him during qualifying. He settled for second but managed to gain a bonus point for the fastest lap.
There was only one safety car period, which is unusual for the Saudi race. The safety car was called on lap 18 when Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was told to stop his car after an issue was discovered by his team.
Following the weekend’s action, Verstappen leads the 2023 Drivers’ Championship with 44 points. Perez is second with 43 points and Alonso is third with 30 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 87 points versus an equal 38 points of Aston Martin and Mercedes. The next race on the calendar is the Australian Grand Prix in a fortnight.
Fernando Alonso (left) and Sergio Perez at the 2023 F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2023 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix:
1) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing +5.355 seconds
3) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin +20.728 seconds
4) George Russell, Mercedes-Benz AMG +25.866 seconds
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +31.065 seconds
6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +35.876 seconds
7) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +43.162 seconds
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +52.832 seconds
9) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +54.747 seconds
10) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +64.826 seconds
11) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +67.494 seconds
12) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas +70.588 seconds
13) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo +76.060 seconds
14) Nyck De Vries, AlphaTauri +77.478 seconds
15) Oscar Piastri, McLaren +85.021 seconds
16) Logan Sargeant, Williams +86.293 seconds
17) Lando Norris, McLaren +86.445 seconds
18) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
NC) Alexander Albon, Williams – DNF
NC) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin – DNF