Mexican Sergio Perez is the winner of the Formula One race for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah. Second place was won by his teammate at Red Bull, Max Verstappen, third was Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin).
There was no shortage of action at the race in Jeddah, but once again the Red Bull team proved that they have put together the best racing car in the queen of motorsport for the new season (again). Qualifying winner Perez lost the lead for just a few laps at the start of the race before driving at the front of the field throughout for his fifth career win, his first since last year’s Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay.
As expected, his teammate Verstappen also made it to the top of the standings, who only started the race from the 15th starting position after problems with the drive train in qualifying. The current world champion quickly made his way to the front, took second place after exactly half of the race and held on to the finish without any problems.
Alonso, who is experiencing a new spring this year, was also very satisfied after the race. His enthusiasm for the Aston Martin from Bahrain did not wane, he was also very fast in Jeddah, where he achieved his jubilee 100th podium finish in his career. An achievement that, to date, has only succeeded among the motorsport elite Lewis Hamilton (191 rankings), Michael Schumacher (155), Sebastian Vettel (122), Alain Prost (106) and Kimi Räikkönen (103).
Alonso’s dream start with a mistakeThe race started like a dream for Alonso, who warmed up the rear tires well in the warm-up lap and after a few meters passed Perez to take the lead, but he was soon penalized by the commissioners of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) with a penalty of 5 seconds due to incorrect positioning on the start. The Asturian started the race too far to the left. Perez, who won the second ‘pole’ of his career on Saturday, took the lead at the start of lap 4 when he took advantage of the first opportunity to activate the DRS system. Russell, however, kept third place, while Alonso’s teammate Lance Stroll overtook the fourth-placed Sainz on the outside in the 13th turn of the opening lap. Meanwhile, McLaren’s poor start to the season continued: Oscar Piastriwho finished qualifying on Saturday in a brilliant 8th place, had to quickly make a forced stop due to damage to the right front wing, shortly after that he went into the pits again to change the nose of the racing car Lando Norris. A disaster for the team from Woking, which had its drivers at the very beginning of the column.
Stroll arranged for the safety car to arriveLeclerc and Verstappen quickly made their way to the front, the Monacan raced ahead of the Dutchman when he pitted for a tire change on lap 17 – a lap too fast, as Stroll retired on lap 18 to ensure the arrival of the safety car, although his parked the racing car in a safe area. Both red bulls took advantage of the somewhat strange decision to bring in the safety car, made a pit stop and secured exceptional positions before the race resumed. Perez led ahead of Alonso, Russell, Verstappen, Sainz and Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen pulled past Perez on lap 25Verstappen took advantage of the first opportunity to use the DRS system after the safety car was withdrawn from the track, and on the 24th lap he flashed past the helpless Russell to third place and took 12th place at the Saudi test. The hunt for Alonso followed, who had to admit his superiority already at the start-finish level of the next round. The Spaniard had no chance in the fight with the Red Bulls, his fight with the Mercedes, who were breathing behind him, promised much more work. However, the two-time world champion cleverly drove less than a second behind Verstappen for long stretches, allowing him to use the rear swingarms on the straights and thus maintain a crucial advantage over the Mercedes.
Verstappen in the last lap to an extra pointBy the end of the race, the ratio at the top did not change. Perez, who complained a few times about minor brake problems, kept his lead over Verstappen relatively calmly and cruised to his fifth career win. The lead in the overall standings for the Formula One World Championship smiled upon him, making him the first Mexican to top the standings after To Pedro Rodriguez from 1967, but with the fastest lap and the extra point it brings, Verstappen prevented him from doing so. “The race was more difficult than expected. Last year I tried very hard to win in Jeddah, this year I did it. We had a lot of mechanical problems with the car this weekend, the team worked hard all the time. We will keep trying, we have the fastest car ,” admitted Perez after the race.
Race for the Saudi Arabian GP, Jeddah
|1||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1:21:14,894|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+5.355|
|3||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||20,728|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||35,876|
|13||Guanyue Jov||Alfa Romeo||1:16,060|
|14||Nyck De Vries||AlphaTauri||1:17,478|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1 round|
|Withdrawal: Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Alexander Albon (Williams)|
|Fastest lap: Max Verstappen (1:31.906)|