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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

F1 race results: Sergio Perez wins 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

Sergio Perez won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, leading home a Red Bull 1-2 ahead of a charging Max Verstappen.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, lead the field away at the start

After Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin outdragged him off the startline, Perez hit the front by lap 4 and pulled clear out front, 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

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:21'14.894  
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:21'20.249 5.355
3 Spain Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:21'35.622 20.728
4 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes 1:21'40.760 25.866
5 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21'45.959 31.065
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:21'50.770 35.876
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:21'58.056 43.162
8 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:22'07.726 52.832
9 France Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:22'09.641 54.747
10 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:22'19.720 1'04.826
11 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:22'22.388 1'07.494
12 Germany Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:22'25.482 1'10.588
13 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:22'30.954 1'16.060
14 Netherlands Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri 1:22'32.372 1'17.478
15 Australia Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:22'39.915 1'25.021
16 United States Logan Sargeant Williams 1:22'41.187 1'26.293
17 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 1:22'41.339 1'26.445
18 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1 lap  
  Thailand Alex Albon Williams 23 laps  
  Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 34 laps  

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 correctly – 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 had 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 were unable to spot. Perez led those who hadn’t yet stopped into the pits, with Alonso taking his 5s penalty but rejoining ahead of Russell.

At the rolling restart on lap 21, Perez led Alonso, Russell, Verstappen, Sainz, Hamilton (who switched to mediums with almost everyone else on hards) and Leclerc, who was the big loser in the shuffle. Hamilton used his fresh mediums to outdrag Sainz from the exit of Turn 1 to pick up fifth.

Verstappen breezed past Russell into the final corner, so had just Alonso between him and Perez, who was 5s up the road. Verstappen DRS-ed past Alonso as the race ticked into its second half, with Perez 5.6s clear – and they began to trade fastest laps. But having closed the gap to 4.5s, Verstappen began to complain about a driveshaft problem, while Perez reported a long brake pedal.

Despite those complaints, the Red Bulls kept up their pace with Perez holding Verstappen at bay. Alonso finished 15s behind, ahead of the Mercedes duo. Russell wasn’t in the mood to give up fourth to Hamilton, despite their tyre difference, and the Ferraris didn’t have much pace on the hards and proved to be no threat from behind.

Ocon finished eighth ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly, as Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) fought out a brilliant duel over the final point, with the Dane prevailing with a couple of laps to go.

Verstappen set fastest lap on the final tour of the race.

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