Photo: Red Bull Media House

F1 Saudi Arabia Race Report: Perez wins as Alonso loses podium with penalty

Sergio Perez has won the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second and Fernando Alonso crossing the line in third to complete the podium places before the Aston Martin driver was handed a ten-second penalty for failing to serve his earlier five-second penalty correctly.

After starting 15th Verstappen had to work his way through the field to gain his place back on the podium, and whilst he didn’t take first place, he did get the fastest lap defending his championship lead.

Alonso took an early lead in the race taking the lead into turn one against pole position holder Perez, but Alonso picked up a five-second time penalty for an incorrect starting position.

The battle for first came back to life in lap four with Perez battling Alonso for the lead locked up and saw him fight to keep it within the track limits but managed to do so as he retook the lead of the race.

Taking a tyre management approach, Alonso went for a longer stint on the medium tyre, whilst he lost time behind Perez it did allow him to build an advantage on the Mercedes of George Russell to help him benefit when he eventually had to pit and serve his penalty.

By lap eight, Verstappen was back into the points after getting past the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu as he continued in that hunt for a place on the podium, and by lap 25 it was back to a Red Bull 1-2.

Valtteri Bottas was the first to start the early pit stops which dropped him down positions and he wasn’t able to make up for the rest of the race seeing him cross the line in last.

Another weekend of hardship for the McLaren team, with Oscar Piastri suffering damage on the opening lap seeing him have to pit for a front wing replacement, only for teammate Lando Norris to have to do the same moments later.

The two McLaren drivers finished the race out of the points with Piastri finishing in 15th and Norris finishing in 17th just behind the Williams of Logan Sergeant who defend his 16th place position until the end.

Stroll brought out a yellow flag and a full safety car after having to stop on the track retiring the car with problems which the team are continuing to investigate.

Aston Martin’s Alonso had already gone past the pit entrance but still managed to pit under the full safety car, serve his penalty and get back out on the track without losing position.

Verstappen got a full benefit of a cheap pitstop seeing him close that gap to the front of the grid.

Alex Albon was the second retiree of the race after suffering brake problems, he tried to continue but problems persisted and he ended up in the pits.

The two Mercedes were scrapping for position and George Russell chose to go against team orders to keep his place in the race as he battled teammate Lewis Hamilton for position on different tyre strategies.

The teams have a week off before they head to Australia for round three of the season., which will be a very earlier start for viewers in the UK.

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