Sergio Perez Holds Off Verstappen, Alonso to Win F1 Saudi Arabia GP
A ten second penalty took Fernando Alonso’s third place finish away, handing George Russell his first podium of the season.
For the first time in what seems like forever, Red Bull's Max Verstappen didn't win a Formula 1 grand prix. Instead, his teammate did. Sergio Perez, who started in pole position, was quickly overtaken by Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso but then quickly retook the lead and never let it go. Perez went on to win the Saudi Arabi GP after fighting off a tenacious Alonso and hard-charging Verstappen.
Verstappen, who seems to start from pole position in every race, actually started from 15th on the grid due to a mechanical failure during qualifying. The last driver to win a GP from 15th was ironically Fernando Alonso back in 2008, so things weren't looking great for the Dutchman early on. However, some expert driving, along with a car that seems like it's in a different league than the rest, allowed Verstappen to slowly slice through the traffic and reach the podium in second place.
Alonso and Aston Martin have been a true delight over the past two races, giving us a break from the typical Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari dominance. The veteran driver was able to expertly keep himself in second place for the vast majority of the race. While his Aston Martin could never quite catch Perez in his almost unfair looking Red Bull, he kept pulling away from whoever was behind him, to keep himself firmly locked in second. Toward the end, though, Verstappen's astonishing car and impressive driving saw him finally overtake Alonso to snag silver.
Alonso initially rounded out the podium, finishing third, which was still impressive for both himself and Aston Martin. However, Alonso suffered a five second penalty for an improper starting position. Then, because Alonso failed to serve that five second penalty correctly in the pits, it turned into a 10 second penalty, which was enough to take his third place finish from him and hand it to Mercedes' George Russell.
For the most part, it was an uneventful race, with Red Bull's dominance on display once again. At times during Verstappen's climb up the position ladder, his car looked like it had 200 more horsepower than the others. Barring some unforeseen mechanical issues from Red Bull, the rest of the season shouldn't play out much differently. Hopefully, Alonso and Aston Martin can continue to shake things up and keep it interesting.
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