Saudi Arabia F1 GP results: Red Bull dominates again

Saudi Arabia F1 GP results: Red Bull dominatesMario Renzi – Formula 1 – Getty Images

Red Bull Racing maintained their impressive start to the 2023 Formula 1 season in Saudi Arabia – although this time it was Sergio Perez who led world champion Max Verstappen. Autoweek summarizes the Jeddah Corniche Circuit’s talking points.

saudi arabia f1 grand prix

Race winner Sergio Perez (R) of Mexico and runner-up Max Verstappen (L) of Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrate after Saudi Arabia F1 Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.Anadolu Agency – Getty Images

Perez leads Verstappen home

It was a comfortable night at the end of Sergio Perez. Red Bull’s pace advantage at the Jeddah Corniche circuit was such that he was able to pass Fernando Alonso – having lost on the first lap – and from there opened up and preserved a lead on his closest challengers. Key to the race result was the driveshaft failure that affected teammate Verstappen during qualifying. The world champion was unbeatable during the training trio, but the failure in Q2 meant that Verstappen started just 15th on the grid. Such was the performance of Red Bull’s RB19 that Verstappen gradually beat rivals one by one – aided by a Safety Car spell that cut a deficit to Perez that peaked at 20 seconds – to retain second place at mid-distance. The gap between the two hovered around the five-second mark for much of the remainder of the race, amid Verstappen’s concerns over another possible driveshaft issue, and Perez duly led his teammate into the second 1 -2 from Red Bull in the season.

Verstappen has a narrow one-point lead over Perez in the championship having set the fastest lap of the race. This caused the only post-race sticking point, with Perez getting the impression that the drivers were maintaining a certain pace for the last two laps – when Perez set the fastest lap – before Verstappen put in the best effort on the final lap.

“They told me to keep a certain pace and they told me I had the fastest lap and to keep a certain pace,” said Perez. “So I thought the communication was the same for Max. It’s something we need to revisit because I certainly got different information and I just couldn’t push it in the end.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said both drivers had been told they had free rein to set the fastest lap, before praising his team’s work in the first two races.

“It was the best start to the season we’ve ever had, we’re only two races away, but having taken two 1-2 finishes and being one point away from a top score, I don’t think we could have ever dreamed of that in the season,” he said. Horner.

Red Bull already has 87 points in the first two rounds and its closest opponent, Mercedes, has only 41. You can bet your house on the trophies that will remain in Milton Keynes this year.

saudi arabia f1 grand prix

“Today is not good for the fans when you have 35 laps to apply the penalty and inform about the penalty and wait after the podium.”Eric Alonso – Getty Images

Alonso time penalty creates post-race mayhem

Formula 1’s governing body and its stewards managed to cover themselves in glory by adding a sour note to a race that had hardly been a thriller. Fernando Alonso was correctly given a five-second penalty after being slightly outside his grid area at the start and this was fulfilled during his pit stop. But shortly after third-placed Alonso celebrated 100th podium of his career, he was hit with a 10-second crash due to incorrectly serving the original penalty. It was judged that Aston Martin mechanics had interfered with the car before the end of the five seconds, which is a violation of the rules. But there was no note of investigation for the next 35 laps. Alonso finished five seconds ahead of George Russell, meaning he dropped behind the Mercedes driver once the penalty was applied, but he was adamant after the race that he would have opened a 10-second window had he known a sanction was coming.

“Today is not good for the fans when you have 35 laps to apply the penalty and inform about the penalty and wait after the podium,” said Alonso. “There’s something very wrong with the system, that’s how it is, I’m sorry for the fans, but I really enjoyed the podium, I took the trophy, I have the photos, I celebrate with champagne and now [scoring] 15 or 12 points doesn’t change much for me. But it is a bit sad for the FIA ​​yes.”

The penalty was good news for both Russell and Mercedes, with the trophy an unexpected early season development, while Lewis Hamilton supported his teammate by finishing fifth – even if he is still struggling with the W14.

“I still don’t have the confidence in the race, but I’m doing my best,” said Hamilton. “There are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend. There will be ups and downs over the first few races.
“Hopefully we can get some updates as soon as possible and try to close that gap for the Astons.”

saudi arabia f1 grand prix

Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) Ferrari SF-23 on track during Saudi Arabia F1 Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.Dan Istitene – Formula 1 – Getty Images

Ferrari’s miserable start continues

Ferrari’s underwhelming start to the 2023 season continued in Saudi Arabia. Charles Leclerc qualified second, albeit slightly behind Perez, but after being relegated to 12thth on the grid due to an engine change managed to be only seventh. That was just one place behind teammate Carlos Sainz, who started fourth but was outpaced by Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

“The last pass through Hard [tires] proves that we are not where we wanted to be,” said Sainz. “We still degrade more than the Mercs, we still degrade more than the Astons and we lack a bit of race pace. after friday [practice] and before the weekend I thought we had a chance to be the second force here in Jeddah, but I think the second hard stint proves that we still have a lot of work to do. That we have a weakness in the race, that we need to wait for developments to see if we can improve on that weakness.”

A pessimistic Charles Leclerc said that “we didn’t have the pace to fight much better today” and “the pace just isn’t good enough”.

Sainz explained that “I honestly wasn’t leaving much on the table in the first part of the period and the [Red Bulls] they are just flying compared to anyone else. Red Bull is very, very dominant right now.”

Sainz is optimistic that Ferrari can bring updates to help remedy the situation, but on Sunday night it looked to be a long season for the red team.

saudi arabia f1 grand prix

Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes on the track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaBryn Lennon – Formula 1 – Getty Images

McLaren has another lackluster race

McLaren suffered from another poor race in Saudi Arabia – from a race that initially promised on one side of the garage. Debutant Oscar Piastri was excellent in qualifying to secure eighth place, but on the first lap he bumped into Alpine’s Pierre Gasly as he rounded Turn 2. The contact was only minor and a typical first-lap skirmish, but it was enough for Piastri to demand repairs. Compounding McLaren’s plight, Lando Norris – who started on the back row after hitting the wall lightly in Q1 – suffered damage to his front wing after hitting debris and also had to pit for repairs. This left the McLaren drivers at the back of the field and, in an average car with a straight line speed deficit, the race was already over.

“We went to the mediums, then they went down, but it’s very difficult to overtake, we’re not fast enough on the straights either, so it was difficult,” said Norris. “It was a little bit worse in the race than we expected, we struggled a lot in the dirty air. Nothing new, just confirmation of what we have and what we struggle with.”

Piastri, who ended up qualifying at 15th“There was a good run towards the end which was good and obviously I had a long run on the hards so it’s good to learn a bit with the tyres, but overall it’s not what we were looking for tonight.”

The result leaves McLaren at the top of the Constructors’ Championship, with only AlphaTauri having also failed to score so far this year.

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Kevin Magnussen competes during the Saudi Arabia Formula One Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Jeddah on March 19, 2023.BEN STANSALL – Getty Images

Magnussen puts Haas on board

Kevin Magnussen put Haas on the scoreboard for 2023 with a resilient drive to 10thplace. Magnussen suffered a downshifting issue in qualifying, along with brake issues, but still managed a reasonable starting position of 13th and from there it went up to 11th, leaving him prepared to pursue Yuki Tsunoda from AlphaTauri. Magnussen eventually made a pass in the last few laps to break into the top 10.

“A point means a lot,” said Magnussen. “We managed to have a good race, make a good start, manage the tires well – especially on the hard compound when I was using older tires than Tsunoda and actually had less degradation. I managed to overtake him at the end and we managed to score a point.”

Haas boss Guenther Steiner praised the team for “performing flawlessly all weekend” and showed an upbeat mood.

“As I said after Bahrain, I didn’t really know where we were with the car, but now we know where we think we are,” he said. “We’re in the mix, we’re actually pretty good I think – it’s all coming together.”

Nico Hulkenberg was 12 years oldthin the sister Haas, a few seconds behind Magnussen, and was encouraged to run a full race in the VF-23 after early damage in the Bahrain skewed his analysis.

“On the one hand I’m disappointed to have lost a point, but on the other hand I’m very pleased to have completed the race and learned a lot,” said Hulkenberg. “The underlying positive news is that we are competitive. It was difficult to judge in Bahrain with damage, but here today we are definitely competitive in midfield and that makes me happy.”

Saudi Arabia F1 GP results

  1. Sergio Perez

  2. Max Verstappen

  3. George Russell

  4. Fernando Alonso

  5. lewis hamilton

  6. Carlos Sainz

  7. Charles Leclerc

  8. Esteban Ocon

  9. Pierre Gasly

  10. Kevin Magnussen

  11. Yuki Tsunoda

  12. Nico Hulkenberg

  13. Zhou Guanyu

  14. Nyck de Vries

  15. oscar piastri

  16. Sergeant Logan

  17. Lando Norris

  18. Valtteri Bottas

  19. Alexandre Albon

  20. Spear Ride

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