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Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23 Mercedes and Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 lead the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Red Bull dominate after crazy finish in Saudi Arabia

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Red Bull locked out the top two steps of the F1 podium, making it the Austrian team’s second one-two of the season. Sergio Perez crossed the line in first place to take home his first win of the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Max Verstappen raced his way through the field finishing P2 after starting from P15, winning driver of the day after nicking the fastest lap off of his team-mate Perez on the final lap. Meanwhile, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso defied the odds seemingly claiming his 100th podium place despite having a five-second time penalty for a starting infringement.

However, the Spaniard was robbed of his achievement after the stewards ruled that a mechanic interfered with the AMR-23 prematurely.

Sparks fly behind Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez claimed his first win of the 2023 F1 season (Getty Images)
As it happened

Alonso got away well, overtaking Perez into turn one to take the lead of the race. However, the Spaniard received a five-second time penalty for an incorrect starting position after placing his Aston Martin too far left.

Fernando Alonso incorrectly lined up on the starting grid at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Fine margins for Fernando Alonso who received a time penalty for not starting on the grid correctly (Credit: Autosport Twitter)

Ferrari finally showed some nice strategy decisions after successfully dummying Aston Martin to pit Lance Stroll who was being followed by Carlos Sainz.

Safety Car

A safety car was brought out after Lance Stroll was told to stop on track by his race engineer. The Safety car bunched up the grid and allowed Alonso to serve his five-second time penalty and still stay on the heels of Sergio Perez, without losing any places.

The Mexican had a great restart, instantly gapping Fernando Alonso and escaping DRS range.

Verstappen instantly put George Russell under pressure and eventually overtook the Briton with ease once DRS was enabled.

Lewis Hamilton displayed some brilliant driving, taking advantage of his brand-new medium tires bu overtaking Sainz who was on the hard compound.

Verstappen continued to breeze through the field, displaying his 17mph pace advantage with his rear wing open. The Dutchman sped passed Alonso to take second place.

Alex Albon was forced to retire from the race after suffering a brake issue.

The field started to spread itself out a bit with each team bunching together, showing each constructor’s pace.

Ending in chaos

Verstappen raced his heart out on the final lap to stop Perez from going top of the leaderboards on the final lap of the race. Meanwhile, Alonso and Russell began to push right until the end after Aston Martin were thought to have incorrectly served Alonso’s five-second penalty.  The Spanish driver built up a five-second gap to Russell. However, it was no use as the stewards handed Alonso a 10-second time penalty after receiving his third-place trophy. Russell, therefore, claimed his first podium of the season and some crucial points for the Silver Arrows.

All in all, Ferrari seemed to be off the pace, unable to catch up to Mercedes. Red Bull continued to set the benchmark, with Verstappen showing no signs of letting Perez have it easy. Magnussen gathered a crucial point for Haas in tenth place at the expense of Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsundoda. Oscar Piastri showed he’s not a McLaren to be a second driver behind Lando Norris, with the Australian overtaking the Briton multiple times and finishing two places ahead of him.

Final Order:
  1. Sergio Perez
  2. Max Verstappen
  3. Fernando Alonso
  4. George Russell
  5. Lewis Hamilton
  6. Carlos Sainz
  7. Charles Leclerc
  8. Esteban Ocon
  9. Pierre Gasly
  10. Kevin Magnussen
  11. Yuki Tsunoda
  12. Nico Hülkenberg
  13. Zhou Gyuanu
  14. Nyck de Vries
  15. Oscar Piastri
  16. Logan Sargeant
  17. Lando Norris
  18. Valtteri Bottas

DNFs: – Lance Stroll, Alex Albon

Headline Feature Image: GettyImages

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