The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second race of the Formula One season, did not fail to deliver as Red Bull driver Sergio Perez led a 1-2 finish for his team to win the race. Teammate Max Verstappen overcame a bad starting position to finish in second place, and George Russell picked up the final podium place.
After claiming a masterful win in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago, Verstappen was favourite to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah. The Dutchman was fastest in the first qualifying race but an engine problem caused him to not finish the last qualifier, meaning that he had to start the race in 15th place. Perez won pole position for the race and Charles Leclerc received a 10-place grid penalty, as well.
The race in Jeddah, the world’s fastest street circuit, started in earnest as Fernando Alonso overtook Perez in the very first lap. He was, however, handed a five-second penalty for an incorrect starting position on the grid. Perez reclaimed his lead by the fourth lap, and both Verstappen and Leclerc broke into the top 10 by the eighth lap of the race.
By the halfway point of the race, Perez remained in the lead with Verstappen in second and Alonso in third. Alex Albon was the first to retire from the race as he announced a brake failure to his crew and was asked to return to the pit.
Perez held off his teammate Verstappen to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but the Dutchman set the fastest lap of the race in the very last one to earn an extra point. Alonso finished in third place to complete the podium as Perez had won his fifth-ever Formula One race.
Following a review, however, Alonso was found to have incorrectly served his penalty, and was handed another ten-second penalty at the end of the race. This dropped him off the podium to fourth place, with Mercedes driver George Russell taking his place on the podium. Lewis Hamilton finished in fifth, with Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Leclerc finishing sixth and seventh, respectively. Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen made up the top ten.
Verstappen was named as the Driver of the Day for reaching second place following a 15th-place start. Red Bull continued their dominance and lead the Constructors Standings early in the season. After the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the drivers will reassemble in Down Under for the Australian Grand Prix from March 31st.