Sergio Perez holds off Max Verstappen’s charge to win Saudi Arabian GP -Dlight News

Sergio Perez holds off Max Verstappen's charge to win Saudi Arabian GP

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – Sergio Perez won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and Max Verstappen finished second from 15th to give Red Bull a 1-2 win on Sunday in what has been a runaway season for the reigning Formula One champions. And so far only two races have been held. “Great job guys, great result for the team,” said Perez, who finished nearly 5 seconds ahead of Verstappen. Through the first two races of the season it has been two Red Bull wins, two 1-2 finishes and an air of desperation from everyone on the grid. Verstappen is chasing a third straight title and is not worried if it comes down to a straight battle between him and Perez. “The best will end up against one,” said the Dutchman. Perez feels he’s still on top. “I’m not sure it’s my best weekend with the team, Melbourne will be even better,” he said, looking forward to the next race in Australia on April 2. Fernando Alonso finished third for what would have been the second race in a row. 100th podium of his career. But he was later handed a 10-second penalty for incorrectly giving an earlier penalty, which dropped him to fourth. But despite the Spaniard enjoying a renaissance with his new Aston Martin team, Alonso has admitted he had little chance of beating Red Bull. Verstappen won a record 15 races last season for a second straight F1 title and Perez added another two as a total of 17 wins from 23 races easily gave Red Bull the constructors’ title. Performance has shown no signs of waning in the off-season and George Russell, who climbed to third after Alonso’s penalty on Sunday, predicted after the season-opener that Red Bull would win every race this season. “I was having fun out there and the car felt good,” Russell said after his 10th career podium. “I think what happened to Fernando was harsh. But I am happy to pick up the silverware.” Lewis Hamilton finished fifth as Mercedes dropped to third and fifth just three days after the seven-time F1 champion claimed. “We’re not where we want to be but we’ll get there,” Hamilton told his team. Sunday’s show was Verstappen, who overcame a mechanical problem in qualifying that forced him to start 15th and quickly worked his way up the grid. The Dutchman set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to maintain his grip on the F1 points standings. Red Bull boss Christian Horner radioed Verstappen. Verstappen felt the late push was worth the risk. “I gave it a go at the end and luckily it worked out,” he said. Red Bull has now gone 1-2 in three consecutive races dating back to last year’s finale. It was the fifth career victory for Perez, who started in this match. Pole for the second consecutive year at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. He briefly led the championship standings until Verstappen slipped to the front by logging the fastest lap. “Let’s keep it going, let’s push,” said the Mexican. Perez started on pole with Alonso. With him on the front row and Alonso quickly jumped into the lead, but was immediately penalized for an improper starting position. He thought he had served a five-second penalty, but race stewards docked him another 10 seconds after the podium celebration. Russell said “common sense needs to be applied,” and Alonso was upset with the governing body, the FIA. “I think it’s a poor show from the FIA ​​today more than a disappointment for us,” Alonso told broadcaster Sky. “You cannot apply a penalty 35 laps after a pit stop. They had enough time to inform us. Perez soon retook the lead when Verstappen and Charles Leclerc — starting 12th due to a 10-place grid penalty — rammed the car in front of them. While both Ferraris pitted for new tyres, Verstappen was fourth. The 6.2-kilometre (3.8-mile) circuit next to the Red Sea is the fastest street track in F1 with average speeds exceeding 250 kmh (160 mph), which suits Verstappen. It only took him a few seconds to pass Russell and Alonso didn’t last long either, making it a Red Bull shootout. Perez held firm. Ferrari had another race to forget, with Carlos Sainz Jr in sixth ahead of Charles Leclerc in seventh. At least Leclerc ended up retiring in Bahrain, but he wasn’t happy. “It’s really (expletive) to be behind like this, I don’t know what to do,” Leclerc said as he ducked behind traffic. Frenchmen Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were eighth and ninth for Alpine with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen in 10th. Alonso’s teammate Lance Stroll retired on lap 18, prompting a safety car restart that suited Verstappen. Alex Albon retired his Williams and his teammate Logan Sargent, the rookie American driver, started last and finished 16th. McLaren struggled again with Oscar Piastre 15th and Lando Norris 17th. “Tough race after an unfortunate start with damage to both cars on the opening lap. Made it very difficult to turn things around. But we tried hard,” McLaren boss Zac Brown tweeted. “Time to bring our season back to Australia.”
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