Skip to content

Saudi Arabian GP: Sergio Perez holds off Max Verstappen to seal Red Bull one-two in Jeddah

Sergio Perez leads home team-mate Max Verstappen to seal Red Bull one-two in Jeddah; Verstappen recovered from 15th on the grid to push Perez to the end; Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso claims 100th career podium after being reinstated to third following a post-race appeal

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez takes the win at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with team-mate Max Verstappen following behind.

Sergio Perez impressively held off team-mate Max Verstappen's charge from 15th on the grid to seal a Red Bull one-two at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

A technical failure in qualifying had left Verstappen with only faint hopes of victory, but he looked in with a strong chance when a safety car helped him move up to second and within six seconds of his team-mate before the race reached its halfway stage.

However, Perez, who had only claimed three wins in his two previous seasons as the Dutchman's team-mate, produced a hugely composed display to hold his advantage as Red Bull claimed a one-two for the second time in as many races this season.

"Again, the safety car wanted to take the victory from us but we did the right thing and it was nice to get it done," Perez said. "We've been really close here and really close in Bahrain - we are living in very small margins at the moment.

"I thought we both pushed more than we needed because in the end it was just one tenth between us - the result wouldn't have changed. In the end, it's a massive team result."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Fernando Alonso claimed the 100th podium of his Formula 1 career as a dramatic chain of events saw the Aston Martin driver reinstated to the position he had finished the race in more than three hours after its completion.

Alonso went up on the podium having finished in third ahead of George Russell on the track but was then demoted to fourth after being handed a 10-second penalty for incorrectly serving an earlier five-second penalty he had incurred for starting in the wrong position.

Also See:

Alonso led into the first corner after beating pole-sitter Perez off the line, but was soon overtaken by a Red Bull car that he simply didn't have the pace to compete with. Alonso had started the race too far to the left of his grid box, and his second infringement came because the rear jack was in contact with the back of his car while he served his penalty during his pit stop.

However, following an appeal from Aston Martin the 41-year-old was given back the place on the grounds that the rear jack touching the car did not constitute work being done by the mechanics, meaning no rules were broken.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok analyses why Fernando Alonso received a post-race penalty, which was later rescinded, at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Russell finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton, having rejected suggestions over team radio he might let his team-mate past him after the Safety Car had left the seven-time world champion on a more favourable tyre, and with a theoretically better chance of chasing down Alonso.

However, Russell appeared to justify his decision by opening a gap to Hamilton, as the Mercedes cars came home comfortably in front of Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who was left angry with his team after feeling he had not received the correct instructions under the Safety Car.

Esteban Ocon finished eighth ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly to complete a strong afternoon for Alpine, while Kevin Magnussen produced a late overtake to snatch the final point from AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda.

Saudi Arabian GP Race Result
1) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin
4) George Russell, Mercedes
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
7) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
9) Pierre Gasly, Alpine
10) Kevin Magnussen, Haas

Perez shows street circuit pedigree again

Verstappen, who is chasing a third successive drivers' title and completely dominated the opening Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain earlier this month, had been a hugely heavy favourite heading into qualifying after topping all three practice sessions at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The Dutchman's dominant form was such that he remained second favourite - and only marginally behind Perez - to win Sunday's race despite starting in 15th after a driveshaft failure saw him make a shock exit from Q2 on Saturday.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Fernando Alonso leads the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with Sergio Perez following shortly behind.

While Perez was briefly held up as he lost out to Alonso at the start, an area of the race that is a clear weakness of his, Verstappen made steady progress through the field.

As the first round of pit stops approached, Perez had opened up a 20-second gap to Verstappen, who had made it up to seventh at that point.

However, the Mexican's advantage was snatched away from him when a technical failure on Lance Stroll's Aston Martin brought out a safety car on lap 18, leaving the front-runners to all come into the pits before bunching up together once the track was cleared.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sergio Perez snatched back the lead from Fernando Alonso at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

As soon as DRS was enabled after the restart, Verstappen eased past Russell and Alonso to move directly behind his team-mate, with half the race still remaining.

Given Verstappen had appeared significantly quicker than his team-mate throughout the weekend, most expected him to cruise into the lead, but Perez, who has now claimed four of his five F1 victories at street circuits, was able to maintain his five-second advantage.

Verstappen complained over team radio in the closing stages that something was "wrong" with his car, but had enough pace to claim the extra point available for the fastest lap in the closing stages, which keeps him above Perez at the top of the world championship standings.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Red Bull's Sergio Perez is optimistic he can mount a title challenge this season against teammate Max Verstappen.

"After the issues yesterday, second is, of course, great but it's not what I'm here for," Verstappen said.

"After the practice sessions, things were looking good - the race result should, of course, have been different."

Alonso reinstated to podium after lashing out at FIA

After everything, Alonso remained in his rightful spot as Red Bull's nearest challenger, with his Aston Martin remarkably continuing to outperform Mercedes and Ferrari.

The Spaniard's move from last year's midfield front-runners Alpine to a team that finished seventh in the 2022 constructors' standings continues to look like a masterstroke.

Before being reinstated to third, Alonso had been highly critical of the FIA for the way the sport's governing body had handled his second penalty.

"It doesn't hurt much, to be honest," Alonso told Sky Sports F1. "I was on the podium, I did pictures, I took the trophy. I celebrated with the champagne. Now I have apparently three points less.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso was critical of the FIA before he was reinstated to third.

"I think it's more an FIA poor show today, more than disappointment for ourselves.

"You can't apply a penalty 35 laps after the pitstop. They had enough time to really inform about the penalty. If I knew that, maybe I open 11 seconds to the car behind. Today we didn't put on a good show, I think, for our fans."

Russell had started third but his hopes of a podium looked to have gone when Verstappen cruised past him after the Safety Car restart.

His main focus was behind him, with Hamilton, who had already got past Sainz, benefitting from being on medium tyres while those around him were on the harder compound, which take longer to warm up and are generally slower.

Hamilton quickly closed into DRS range and was probing when Russell received a message over team radio warning him his team-mate was going faster, to which he responded by saying Alonso still had a five-second penalty to serve, and the Mercedes duo should focus on saving their tyres to stay in touch with the Aston Martin.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell acknowledged Red Bull are the clear frontrunners after finishing fifth and third respectively.

Russell was wrong, because Alonso had served his five-second penalty during the only round of pit stops, but his words turned out to be something of a premonition, with the second penalty saga still to come.

The Brit was ultimately to be denied his first podium of the season, but will still take encouragement from having outperformed his seven-time world champion team-mate in both Qualifying and the race.

It was another disheartening day for Ferrari, whose promise of being nearer to Red Bull than they had been in Bahrain was made to look nonsensical as they fell behind Mercedes.

Leclerc showed impressive pace on soft tyres on his opening stint, but his failure to drive at the maximum allowed speed when the Safety Car was deployed saw him lose an advantage over both Sainz and Hamilton.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Oscar Piastri loses a key part of the front wing during the opening moments of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Further back in the field, McLaren's day was ruined almost as soon as it began, with both Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris forced to pit after sustaining damage on the opening lap.

Piastri, who had impressed by taking ninth in Qualifying, ultimately finished 15th, two places ahead of Norris.

There were only two retirements, with Stroll followed out of the race by Williams' Alex Albon, who was forced to end his evening early after suffering a brake issue.

What's next?

The 2023 Formula 1 season continues with the Australian Grand Prix from Melbourne's Albert Park circuit.

The action is all live on Sky Sports F1 from March 31- April 2, with Sunday's race at 6am.

Around Sky