All drivers started the race on medium except Logan Sargeant and Lewis Hamilton who were on hards and Norris and Leclerc on softs. It was Fernando Alonso who beat pole sitter Sergio Perez at Turn 1 to take the lead from the Red Bull Racing driver. By round 4, however, Perez was able to take the lead from the two-time world champion. After an incorrect starting line-up, Alonso ended up receiving a 5-second penalty.
Due to mechanical problems during qualifying, reigning champion Max Verstappen started the race from P15, while Charles Leclerc served a 10-place penalty and started 12th on the grid. However, both drivers quickly made up positions. Lance Stroll stopped his Aston Martin on lap 18, resulting in the safety car being deployed – giving the rear markers a cheap pit stop.
Red Bull’s pace was truly unmatched and not only helped Sergio Perez extend his lead up front, but also helped Verstappen gain positions almost effortlessly. Alex Albons Williams suffered a brake failure and retired on lap 27 – his 6th career DNF.
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Here are all the points collectors at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix –
1. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 1:21:14.894
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. George Russel (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 was able to score another point with the fastest lap and thus continues to lead the 2023 Formula 1 driver standings. Rounding out the podium was Fernando Alonso – his 100th podium finish. It also meant the same 3 riders took a podium finish in Jeddah as they did in Bahrain two weeks ago.
Post race update – After failing to properly serve the 5-second penalty, Fernando Alonso was handed another 10-second penalty following the podium celebration. As a result, Mercedes’ George Russell was promoted to P3 while Alonso dropped to fourth.
Stay tuned to TOI Auto for all updates on the 2023 Formula 1 season, including all race reports from the season.
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