F1 2023: Perez leads Red Bull to 1-2 at Saudi Arabian GP as Verstappen gains 13 places!
All drivers started the race on mediums apart from Logan Sargent and Lewis Hamilton, who were on hard, and Norris and Leclerc on soft. It was Fernando Alonso who overtook pole sitter Sergio Pérez at Turn 1 and took the lead from the Red Bull Racing driver. However, Pérez was able to retake the lead from the 2x World Champion on lap 4 itself. Alonso received a 5-second penalty, after mis-lining on the grid.
Due to mechanical issues during qualifying, defending champion Max Verstappen started the race from P15, while Charles Leclerc started from 12th on the grid and served a 10 place grid penalty. However, both drivers quickly regained positions. Lance Stroll stalled his Aston Martin on lap 18, resulting in the safety car being deployed – earning the back markers a cheap pit stop.
The Red Bull’s pace was truly unmatched, not only helping Sergio Pérez extend his lead, but also helping Verstappen regain position almost easily. Alex Albon’s Williams had a brake failure, ending his race on lap 27 – his 6th career DNF.
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Here are all the point scorers in 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 score another point after taking the fastest lap, which means he will continue to lead the 2023 Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship. The podium was rounded out by Fernando Alonso – his 100th podium finish. It also meant that the same 3 drivers who recorded podium finishes in Jeddah as the season opener two weeks earlier in Bahrain.
Post-Race Update – After a 5-second penalty for not serving properly, Fernando Alonso was given another 10-second penalty after the podium ceremony. Therefore, Mercedes’ George Russell was promoted to P3, while Alonso moved up to fourth.
Stay tuned to TOI Auto for all the updates on the 2023 Formula One season, including all the race reports of the season.