Sergio Perez Wins Saudi Arabian GP with Max Verstappen and George Russell on Podium

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Last Updated: March 20, 2023, 00:42 IST

Red Bull's Sergio Perez won Saudi Arabia Grand Prix (AP)

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez won Saudi Arabia Grand Prix (AP)

Sergio Perez won the Formula One Saudi Arabia Grand Prix as Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen finished second and Mercedes’ George Russell in third

Red Bull dominated the second Formula One Grand Prix of the season in Jeddah on Sunday as Sergio Perez, who started from pole position, won, while team-mate Max Verstappen charged through the field from 15th to finish second.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso, who started on the front row but was hit with a five-second penalty during the race, finished a distant third in his Aston Martin. He was closely followed by the Mercedes pair George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

After the finish, George Russell got pushed up for a podium finish as Alonso got another penalty for his incorrectly placed jack during his five-second penalty.

Verstappen, who was halted by mechanical problems in qualifying, held on to the championship lead by picking up an extra point for driving the fastest circuit of the race in his 50th and last lap around Jeddah’s floodlit Corniche circuit and retains the Formula One championship lead by a single point.

“It turned out to be tougher than expected. We really did a good job in the first stint, that safety car tried to take it away from us. I was after the victory last year and finally I got it. The team did a fantastic job, the team have worked so hard over the week, we’ve had a lot of mechanical issues and these guys have been on top of that. We will keep pushing hard and the important thing is we were the fastest car out there today so I’m very pleased with that.,” Sergio Perez said at the podium.

Perez started on pole with Alonso on the front row alongside him and Alonso jumped out to a quick lead, but was promptly penalized for being in the improper starting position.

Perez soon regained the lead while Verstappen and Charles Leclerc — starting from 12th because of a 10-place grid penalty — chewed up the cars ahead of them.

When both Ferrari’s pitted for new tires, Verstappen was in fourth.

The 6.2-kilometer (3.8-mile) circuit beside the Red Sea is the quickest street track in F1 with average speeds exceeding 250 kmh (160 mph), which suited Verstappen. It took him only a few seconds to pass Russell and Alonso didn’t last long, either, making it a Red Bull shootout.

“It wasn’t very easy to get through the field. Once I cleared them we got into the rhythm. I was in second, we had a big gap. We settled for second which was a very good recovery. Luckily it worked out,” Max Verstappen said at the end of the race.

The result in Jeddah was Red Bull’s second one-two in as many races this season but a reverse of the March 5 opener in Bahrain won by Verstappen.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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