Updated:Mar 19, 2023 6:47 pm
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix appeared on the calendar this season for the 3rd year running, the previous two times provided us with entertaining and controversial racing, but this season, it also didn’t disappoint
Sergio Perez crossed the line first, securing a pole to win race for him, a smooth sailing race only disturbed by Fernando Alonso at the beginning, in which he’d lost the lead, but took back only a couple of laps later on.
Perez seemed to have a stunning pace this Sunday, a very well-managed drive with a good strategy saw him triumph. If he’s able to keep this up and keep consistency, who knows what could happen… we could be talking about a close title fight.
Mad Max’s Push Through The FieldEmbed from Getty Images
Max Verstappen drove a superb race today finishing P2 with the fastest lap in his hands, he started the race out in P15 and managed to fight his way through the field to claim a well-earned podium.
Getting the fastest lap meant he retains the lead in the driver’s championship, one point ahead of his teammate, Sergio.
Despite problems he was experiencing around Lap 50, he repeatedly asked his engineer what the time for the fastest lap was. Max will know very well that one point could be the difference between a title so you can see the determination and ambition he has only 2 rounds into the season.
The goal for Max this season is clear. He leads the Championship this season by 1 point. Let’s see what he will be able to do when we go to the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Fernando Alonso Heartbreak Caused By FIAEmbed from Getty Images
Fernando Alonso went from hero to zero post-race, and the Spaniard achieved his 100th podium placing him in Formula 1s record books. However, the FIA thought otherwise as he was controversially awarded a 10-second time penalty, moving him down, therefore promoting George Russell to P3.
On Lap 1 of the race, it became apparent that Fernando Alonso had started the race incorrectly, this was due to starting in the wrong position. We saw this happen in the Bahrain Grand Prix with Ocon which started a train of penalties. Alonso has evidently experienced the same thing yet this time it was awarded after the race.
Allegedly, Alonso’s penalty was served incorrectly meaning he had to be given a 10s time penalty.. controversially, the FIA regulations state that the stewards have 30 laps to warn the driver of the penalty being done incorrectly otherwise he goes unpunished.. Fernando Alonso served his penalty on Lap 19 when pitting under the safety car.
This essentially means either Aston Martin knew and decided to chance it or the FIA messed up and awarded a time penalty without the team’s knowledge outside the 30-lap rule.
The indication to Aston Martin knowing, would be that Russell’s engineer told him to try and close the gap to 5 seconds as they believe another penalty could be awarded… this would’ve had to been known through an indication of some sort so perhaps Aston Martin cost Alonso this podium.
Despite the penalty Alonso does still finish in P4, a massive finish for Aston Martin but just not what it could’ve been.
Ferrari Dissapoint For The Second Week RunningEmbed from Getty Images
To Ferrari’s disappointment it was another bad race for them. Charles Leclerc qualified a shocking P2 but was dropped down to P12 after being forced to take a new engine component in only round 2.
It was further dismay for the Scuderia as Carlos Sainz qualified P5, behind the Mercedes of a struggling George Russell.
It would only get worse for Ferrari as in the race they’d finish P6 and P7, only getting a total of 14 points for the team. Leclerc had to battle his way through the field and was making good progress but all of that was ruined as he was halted by his teammate which he wouldn’t end up getting past, meaning P7 was the best he could achieve.
As for Sainz, he looked poor this weekend as he couldn’t find good pace. He struggled in Qualifying and he struggled with race pace. A strategy that was very similar to the card around him but he just couldn’t manage to push forward and further up the field.
Ferrari next race-week are supposedly bringing in upgrades so they’ll hope that these can push them forward and get them back to how they were last season. We all enjoyed seeing Ferrari back to the front last season so it’s a shame to see them so far down at the beginning of the season.