Formula 1 Racing

Sergio Perez wins 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

Sergio Perez wins 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

After Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin outdragged him off the startline, Perez hit the front by Lap 4 and pulled clear, as team-mate Verstappen battled back from starting 15th after a driveshaft failure in qualifying.

Verstappen charged up to fourth before benefitting from a safety car when Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin ground to a halt. He quickly picked off those in front to sit behind Perez by half distance.

The Red Bulls were a second a lap faster than the opposition in the closing stages, but Verstappen reported a problem with his driveshaft at high speed and wasn’t able to do anything about his team-mate over the second half of the race.

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix results

How the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix unfolded

Perez was unable to hold his pole position advantage off the startline, as Alonso – who was given a 5s penalty for lining up too far left in his grid slot – streaked past him into the first corner. George Russell ran third for Mercedes, ahead of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Stroll, with the latter pulling a great move around the outside of the Ferrari at Turn 13.

Lewis Hamilton, the only driver in the top 10 to start on hard tyres, dropped to seventh in his Mercedes. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc started 12th after taking a 10-place grid penalty for changing his engine control electronics, and used soft tyres to gain three places on the first tour. Verstappen gained two spots on the opening lap, aided by Oscar Piastri needing a new front wing on his McLaren after a first corner clash with an Alpine.

Alonso led until Perez passed him at Turn 1 at the start of lap four, and the Mexican pulled clear by over 3s. Leclerc and Verstappen were up to seventh and ninth respectively by Lap 10.

Verstappen DRS-ed past Hamilton on Lap 12 to take eighth, two seconds behind Leclerc, who then put Esteban Ocon’s Alpine between them a tour later. Verstappen jumped to sixth as he DRS-ed past Ocon and Stroll pitted on Lap 14. Sainz pitted two laps later, also taking hards but overcutting Stroll.

Leclerc pitted on Lap 17, allowing Verstappen free passage to fourth, and rejoined ahead of Stroll too, who’d struggled to get back up to speed. Stroll was then told to stop out on track, causing a safety car on Lap 18 – even though his car had pulled into a gap in the barrier that the FIA managed not to spot.

Perez led those who hadn’t yet stopped into the pits, with Alonso taking his 5s penalty but rejoining ahead of…

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