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Verstappen charges from 15th to second to seal Red Bull one-two in Saudi Arabia
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Sergio Perez's Red Bull during Sunday's race
Sergio Perez's Red Bull during Sunday's race

Sergio Perez claimed glory in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen charged through the field to maintain his lead in the Formula One championship.

Polesitter Perez initially fell behind to Fernando Alonso at the start of Sunday's race in Jeddah, yet the latter was handed a five-second penalty for an incorrect starting position on the grid.

Perez did not relinquish the lead again, holding firm to seal his fifth F1 win, and his second in the space of seven races following his success in Singapore last season.

Red Bull team-mate Verstappen, starting 15th, had work to do after dropping out in Q2 on Saturday, though the two-time reigning champion displayed his supreme skill – and the power of his engine – to charge up to second.

He had overtaken long-time rival Lewis Hamilton for P8 by the 12th lap, and after Lance Stroll was told to stop on the track, bringing out a safety car, Verstappen was attempting to overtake George Russell's Mercedes.

Russell held him off once but could not do so again, with Verstappen cruising beyond Alonso to take hold of second in the 25th lap.

Verstappen, who had his rear suspension and both driveshafts changed prior to the race, was troubled by what he called a "weird noise" with 12 laps remaining, though Red Bull's engineers instructed the Dutchman to stay out.

That did not seem to ease Verstappen's fears, though he pushed his car as far as it would go in the final lap, and that decision paid off as he claimed the fastest time in the race, keeping himself at the top of the standings after two races.

Alonso fended off Mercedes duo Russell and Hamilton to round out the podium – the Spaniard's 100th of his F1 career. However, that was taken away from him when the stewards confirmed he had not fully served his five-second penalty.

After failing to finish in 2022, Alex Albon suffered another disappointing race in Jeddah as a brake issue forced him to retire.

Charles Leclerc endured a frustrating grand prix and had to settle for seventh, behind Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz.

History for Red Bull as Verstappen refuses to give up

It was a bad day on Saturday for Verstappen, but his powers of recovery are extraordinary. This was his 21st successive finish in the points, matching his previous best (21 between Belgium 2018 and Hungary 2019).

He might not have matched Alonso’s efforts of 2008, when he became the only driver to win a grand prix from P15, but Verstappen ensured he kept hold of his championship lead with that exceptional final lap.

Sunday's result marks another one-two for Red Bull to start the campaign. After leading the qualifying for and winning last week’s Bahrain Grand Prix, they repeated that feat this time out – they are the first team to win both races and both qualifying sessions in the first two races of an F1 season. It looks ominous for their competitors yet again.

Alonso denied his century

Alonso looked set to become only the sixth driver to reach 100 podium finishes in F1, behind Hamilton (191), Michael Schumacher (155), Sebastian Vettel (122), Alain Prost (106) and Kimi Raikkonen (103).

However, he was the subject of a stewards' check following the race as to whether he had served the full five-second penalty while in the pits.

It was determined that the rear jack had made contact with his car before the five seconds were up, resulting in a 10-second penalty that saw Alonso cruelly lose his podium place.

No luck for Hamilton

Hamilton has failed to place on the podium in either of the first two races of a season for just the second time in his career, after 2009, when he was disqualified in Australia and came seventh in Malaysia.

There was better luck for Russell, who took third due to Alonso's penalty.


1. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 1:21:14s
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +5.355
3. George Russell (Mercedes) +25.866
4. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) +30.728
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +31.065
6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +35.876
7. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +43.162
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +52.832
9. Pierre Gasly (Apline) +54.747
10. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +64.826



1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 44

2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 43

3. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) 27

4. George Russell (Mercedes) 21

5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 20


1. Red Bull 87

2. Mercedes 41

3. Aston Martin 35

4. Ferrari 26

5. Alpine 8

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