Formula One

Perez wasn’t prepared to lose out a second time in Jeddah


Sergio Perez said he was determined not to lose out on victory in the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix for a second year running.

Perez started last year’s race from pole but ended up missing out on victory in Jeddah while his Red Bull team mate sailed on to victory.

He wasn’t about to accept the same fate this year, even though things didn’t exactly start well for him when the lights went out.

The RB19 struggled to get away, opening the door for Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso to snatch the lead going into turn 1. But four laps later Perez was back in charge and the threat was coming from elsewhere.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR23 at the start of the race.
19.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Race Day.
 -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Verstappen started the race from P15 after technical problems in qualifying a safety car helped him make his way to the front, after which he easily dispatched Alonso and George Russell to take second place.

But Perez still had a five second lead, and he battled to hold on to it all the way to the finish with no question of team orders coming from the Red Bull pit wall.

“It turned out to be tougher than expected,” Perez admitted when interviewed in parc ferme after the race.

“We really did the job in the first stint, but that safety car again tried to take the victory out of us again. But not this time!” he said. “I was on for the victory last year, so finally I got it.

“The team did a fantastic job, he added. “They’ve worked so hard during the weekend. We have a lot of mechanical issues and these guys have been on top of that, so I’m really happy for them.

“The important thing I think is that we had the fastest car out there today, so I’m very pleased with that.”

Verstappen clinched the bonus point for setting the fastest lap meaning that he’s still in the lead of the drivers championship.

But in the constructors standings, Red Bull have amassed 87 points after two races – more than twice the amount of second-placed Mercedes, which is ominous news indeed for their rivals.

“What we saw today was the pace of our car on this circuit,” team principal Christian Horner said. “We’ve got a great car and two great drivers.”

Asked if team orders had ever been considered today, he replied: “We talked about it earlier in a briefing that you are free to race, but keep it clean.”

“Both of them are so competitive,” he noted. “But I think today for Checo, that was his best Grand Prix, particularly after the restart on the hard tyre.

“He immediately built a five-second gap and then he maintained that and managed it. So all credit to him and the team for getting maximum points.”

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Perez wasn’t prepared to lose out a second time in Jeddah

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