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Perez shines in Saudi Arabian GP victory as Verstappen survives Red Bull gremlins

Perez shines in Saudi Arabian GP victory as Verstappen survives Red Bull gremlins

Perez shines in Saudi Arabian GP victory as Verstappen survives Red Bull gremlins

Perez shines in Saudi Arabian GP victory as Verstappen survives Red Bull gremlins

Sergio Perez secured a comfortable Saudi Arabian Grand Prix victory as team-mate Max Verstappen recovered from 15th on the grid to secure a second consecutive one-two finish for Red Bull.

The Mexican beat Verstappen home by 5.3 seconds to secure his fourth F1 victory, though a fastest lap on the final lap for the Dutchman puts him top of the championship.

Fernando Alonso secured his 100th podium in the sport in third despite serving a five-second penalty.

The Aston Martin driver made the perfect getaway from the line to beat Perez into the first corner, though the Spaniard was hit with a penalty for positioning his AMR23 too far to the left in his grid box.

Team-mate Lance Stroll pulled off a stunning move on Carlos Sainz at turn 13 for fifth whilst Oscar Piastri lost his right front wing endplate in contact with Esteban Ocon, forcing an early stop for the Australian.

McLaren's fortunes went from bad to worse with Lando Norris also forced to fit a new front wing at the end of lap two.

Perez retook the race lead from Alonso with a clinical move up the inside at turn one - a strong headwind helping those searching for overtaking chances with DRS.

The other Red Bull was being driven up the order by Verstappen, who by lap 16 had latched onto the back of Charles Leclerc's Ferrari just before the SF-23 dived to the pits.

Safety car spices up the action

With a full safety car on lap 18 - dubiously called with Lance Stroll's Aston Martin out of the way behind the wall at turn 13 after stopping - Verstappen, along with Perez, Alonso and George Russell ahead.

Lewis Hamilton made a textbook switchback on softer tyres than Sainz at turns two and three to snatch away fifth, whilst directly in front, Red Bull's advantage was made clear for all to see with Verstappen breezing past Russell some distance before the final corner.

A similarly easy move on Fernando Alonso released Verstappen to chase down team-mate Perez.

Hamilton's switch from hards to softs left Russell vulnerable with the seven-time champion closing.

The call came from the Mercedes pit wall for Russell to move out the way, but having been provided with the information that Alonso had already served his five-second penalty, the Briton began to pull away from the second W14.

Red Bull was given a fright in the final quarter as both drivers called in with suspicions of issues.

Verstappen worryingly suggested his driveshaft sounded 'rough', the sane component that quashed his qualifying hopes on Saturday.

Leader Perez then complained of a long brake pedal, though the Mexican was assured this was only down to general wear.

With both drivers given lap time targets, Red Bull eased home to secure a second-straight one-two finish.

Russell led home Mercedes in formation for fourth ahead of Hamilton, with the Silver Arrows likely content to top both Ferraris - Sainz beating Leclerc to sixth.

Alpine enjoyed a double points finish with Ocon ahead of Pierre Gasly in eighth and ninth, whilst Kevin Magnussen secured the final point for Haas in 10th.

The Dane came out on top after a fascinating battle with AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda in the closing stages.

Nico Hulkenberg followed in 12th in the second Haas ahead of Zhou Guanyu's Alfa Romeo.

Nyck de Vries finished 14th, with Piastri, Logan Sargeant, Norris and Valtteri Bottas the last of the finishers.

Alex Albon joined Stroll on the sidelines, with the Williams driver suffering with brake issues.

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