F1: Perez leads Red Bull 1-2 in Saudi Arabia GP (2nd Update)
–by Mark Cipolloni–
Based on this ruling, Alonso’s 3rd place has been reinstated and the final race standings adjusted below – back to where they were.
March 19, 2023
–by Mark Cipolloni–
Fernando Alonso has been handed a 10-second penalty by the Stewards for his team touching his car before the 5-second penalty mark was up, which moves George Russell up to third and Alonso back to 4th.
Alonso was handed a 5-second penalty for having his car outside the start box – too far left.
Aston Martin is protesting the penalty. One complaint is that it took officials since lap 18 to serve the penalty, denying Alonso the chance to gap Russell by more than 10 seconds, which given his speed, he could have done.
Conclusion: That was bad officiating, leading many to conclude Toto Wolff still has the FIA in his back pocket. As a result, Alonso loses his 100th career F1 podium.
March 19, 2023
–by Mark Cipolloni–
Polesitter Sergio Perez lost the lead to Fernando Alonso at the start, stayed behind the Aston Martin for several laps and then used DRS to make the pass for the lead in his Red Bull Honda and led the rest of the way to win the Saudi Arabian GP – the fastest street circuit in the world with average speeds over 155mph.
Max Verstappen started 15th in the #1 Red Bull Honda and moved his way through the field to 2nd place by halfway distance, but that is as far as he would get as Perez controlled the gap to 2nd nicely and took the victory, his 5th in F1.
“It turned out to be tougher than expected,” said a thrilled Perez!
“I was on for the victory last year, so finally I got it. The team have worked so hard across the weekend, we had a lot of mechanical issues. We will keep pushing, we were the fastest car out there.”
Verstappen was complaining about a weird noise in the car over the last 15 laps so just stroked it to the end to get the 2nd place points.
Verstappen also took the one point for fastest lap on the final circuit to lead the championship over his teammate by a single point, but it was redemption for last year, as Perez wins from pole in Jeddah.
“Yeah not bad that, good result for the whole team,” said Verstappen to his team over the radio.
“It wasn’t very easy to get through the field, trying to follow was difficult, but very happy to be here on the podium,” said Verstappen. “We decided to settle for second and call it a day, but it was still a very good recovery.”
Fernando Alonso held on for the final podium position, his second third place in a row.
“What a start to the season, probably unthinkable,” said an elated Alonso!
“I need to review [the start], I made a mistake, so when they told me I knew I needed to drive even faster. It’s a hard Grand Prix, but I push all the way through like qualifying laps.”
Before the race Alonso predicted that Verstappen would be 2nd by lap 25.
On lap 25 Verstappen passed Alonso for 2nd, the Spaniard’s prediction fulfilled.
Note: The stewards are investigating whether Aston Martin served that 5-second penalty correctly. If he did – or rather, if a mechanics did start working on the car within those first five stationary seconds, he could get another time penalty.
If he got five seconds – all hypotheticals – he’d keep third. Ten seconds, and Russell would inherit the place.
George Russell out dueled his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for a solid 4th and 5th for the Silver Arrows.
The Ferraris of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc finished a distant 6th and 7th, almost 40 seconds behind the Red Bulls.
Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10.
Nico Hulkenberg took 12th in the sister Haas, as the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu beat rookie drivers Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri), Oscar Piastri (McLaren) and Logan Sargeant (Williams) to P13.
McLaren endured another tough day at the office after early front wing changes for Piastri, who clashed with Gasly at the start, and Lando Norris, who hit the debris, consigned them to evenings towards the back of the pack.
Attention now turns to the third round of the 2023 F1 season in Australia on April 2nd.
Race Results – 50 Laps
|1||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+0.000s|
|2||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+5.355s|
|3||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||+20.728s|
|4||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||+25.866s|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||+31.065s|
|6||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||+35.876s|
|7||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+43.162s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+52.832s|
|9||Pierre Gasly||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+54.747s|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||+64.826s|
|11||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+67.494s|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||+70.588s|
|13||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||+76.060s|
|14||Nyck de Vries||NED||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+77.478s|
|15||Oscar Piastri||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||+85.021s|
|16||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+86.293s|
|17||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+86.445s|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||+1 Lap|
|DNF||Alex Albon||THA||Williams Racing||DNF|
|DNF||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||DNF|
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||50||1:31.906||241.838|
|2||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||38||1:32.188||241.098|
|3||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||50||1:32.240||240.962|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||49||1:33.222||238.424|
|9||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||44||1:33.374||238.036|
|10||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||50||1:33.392||237.990|
|11||21||Nyck De Vries||AlphaTauri Honda||49||1:33.609||237.438|
|12||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||50||1:33.780||237.005|
|13||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||49||1:33.894||236.718|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda||50||1:33.931||236.624|
|15||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||49||1:34.122||236.144|
|16||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||48||1:34.287||235.731|
|17||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||37||1:34.384||235.489|
|18||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||49||1:34.469||235.277|
|19||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||7||1:35.140||233.617|
|20||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||24||1:35.567||232.574|