Saudi Arabian GP: only Perez beats Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc 7th behind Sainz

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Red Bull also dominates in Jeddah; Ferrari disappoints.

Sergio Perez won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in another glorious Sunday for Red Bull. Max Verstappen, who started 15th, in fact finished the race in second place beaten only by his teammate. At the finish line still third and on the podium Fernando Alonso (later penalized and overtaken by George Russell), bad the Ferraris. Charles Leclerc’s comeback ends in fact only with a seventh place behind teammate Carlos Sainz. The reds are also beaten by the Mercedes of Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth and fifth respectively.

At the start the one who has the best sprint is Fernando Alonso, who at the first braking burns Perez and takes the lead. The Asturian also tries to escape, but he is given a 5-second penalty to be served at the first pit stop for incorrect positioning on the grid. Instead, Sainz struggles, stuffed by Stroll on the outside and then unable to attack the Canadian’s Aston Martin. Leclerc and Verstappen begin their comeback, finding themselves seventh and ninth on lap 10: between them Lewis Hamilton.

On lap 14 Leclerc is sixth, after also overtaking Ocon (a lap later also overtaken by Verstappen). Meanwhile, Sainz anticipates the tire change to overtake Stroll in the pits. However, it is precisely the Canadian’s retirement at the 18′ that procures the turning point of the race: the Safety Car enters, facilitating Verstappen’s comeback. And at the restart, in fact, the Dutchman effortlessly overtakes Sainz and finds himself fourth. After attacks on Russell and Alonso he then moves back to second.

In the finale Verstappen reports a strange noise to his single-seater at speed, but ignores the Red Bull team’s instructions not to scramble the car. Ahead of him Perez also reports some problems, which does not, however, prevent him from arriving serenely at the finish line winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Only on the last lap does he lose the world championship lead to his teammate, who set the fastest lap.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023: the results

1 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing 1
2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +5.355 1
3 George RUSSELL Mercedes +25.866 1
4 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +30.728 *10 second penalty 1
5 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +31.065 1
6 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +35.876 1
7 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +43.162 1
8 Esteban OCON Alpine +52.832 1
9 Pierre GASLY Alpine +54.747 1
10 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +64.826 1
11 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +67.494 1
12 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +70.588 1
13 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +76.060 2
14 Nyck DE VRIES AlphaTauri +77.478 1
15 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +85.021 1
16 Logan SARGEANT Williams +86.293 1
17 Lando NORRIS McLaren +86.445 2
18 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo 1 L 3
19 Alexander ALBON Williams — 2
20 Lance STROLL Aston Martin — 1

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