F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix results: Sergio Perez wins ahead of Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso loses P3 with penalty

Formula One F1 - Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - March 19, 2023 Red Bull's Sergio Perez in action during the race REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
After losing the lead into the first corner of the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Sergio Perez quickly gained it back on lap 4 and never looked back. (REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri)

It’s beginning to look like a long F1 season if you’re not Red Bull.

The Milton Keynes team was nothing short of dominant Sunday in Saudi Arabia as pole sitter Sergio Perez led most of the way and Max Verstappen went from P15 on the grid to a P2 finish. Fernando Alonso briefly tasted the lead before Perez overtook him on the fourth lap and never looked back.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix results

  1. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  2. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  3. George Russell (63), Mercedes

  4. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  5. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes

  6. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari

  7. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari

  8. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault

  9. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault

  10. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari

  11. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  12. Nico Hulkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari

  13. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  14. Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  15. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes

  16. Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes

  17. Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes

  18. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  19. Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

  20. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes

Alonso loses P3 with additional penalty

Despite finishing third on track after serving a five-second penalty for a starting procedure breach and celebrating what he thought was his 100th career podium, Fernando Alonso officially will go down as the fourth-place finisher. While serving that penalty during his first pit stop the rear jack came in contact with Alonso's Aston Martin before the five seconds passed, leading to a post-race 10-second penalty that promoted George Russell to P3.

Albon has brake failure, retires

Just past halfway on lap 26 Alex Albon radios his team "Oh my god, brake failure." He limps to the pit lane and becomes the second car to retire from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Stroll retires, triggers safety car

Three laps after pitting for the hard tire, Lance Stroll experiences mechanical issues and is told suddenly to stop the car on track on lap 17. He manages to get his car almost completely off track, but with the rear wing still exposed to the competition surface, the safety car is called, allowing Max Verstappen a cheap pit stop which he uses to jump the Ferraris.

Alonso penalized for start procedure breach

Just as the first lap was complete the race stewards announced that Fernando Alonso, who started second on the grid and took the lead into the first corner, had not started the race inside his grid box and would receive a five-second time penalty at his first pit stop.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix preview

F1 returns to the shores of the Red Sea and the Jeddah Corniche street circuit this weekend for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Although it has only hosted two races — and it won’t be around for long as a permanent circuit is in the works — both have been action-packed.

Despite Red Bull’s dominance in testing and at the season opener in Bahrain — expect that trend to continue with Aston Martin’s continued ascent and a Ferrari title hopeful already set to take a grid penalty — good racing should happen throughout the field.

Here’s what you need to know for the grand prix weekend:

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix broadcast schedule

All times ET

9:25-10:30 a.m.: Free practice 1 (ESPN2)
12:55-2 p.m.: Free practice 2 (ESPNEWS)
9:25-10:30 a.m.: Free practice 3 (ESPN2)
12:55-2 p.m.: Qualifying (ESPNEWS)
11:30 a.m.-12:55 p.m.: Pre-race show (ESPN, ESPN+)
12:55-3 p.m.: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (ESPN, ESPN+)

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix details

Track: Jeddah Corniche street circuit (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Track length: 3.83 miles
Turns: 27 (15 left, 12 right)
Laps: 50
Lap record: 1:30.734 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2021)
Tire compounds: C2 (Hard), C3 (Medium), C4 (Soft)

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix starting grid

  1. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  2. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  3. George Russell (63), Mercedes

  4. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari

  5. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  6. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault

  7. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes

  8. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes

  9. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault

  10. Nico Hulkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari

  11. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  12. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari

  13. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari

  14. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  15. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  16. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  17. Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

  18. Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  19. Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes

  20. Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes

Charles Leclerc gets 10-place grid drop

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari will already need to use a third Control Electronics unit this weekend after the previous two failed in Bahrain. Given that teams are only allowed to use two per season without consequence, Leclerc has received a 10-place grid drop penalty to be administered after Saturday’s qualifying sessions.

Grid drops are fairly common from midseason and further into the calendar as parts break down but already out of a key power unit component two races into what will be a record 23-race campaign, Leclerc’s Ferrari is already fighting out of a massive hole.

F1 Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco prepares for the first Formula One free practice at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, March 3, 2023. The Bahrain GP will be held on Sunday March 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc already has to take a 10-place grid penalty at just the second race of the F1 season. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Top drivers and best bets for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has been imperious for the better part of three seasons now and he enters the weekend as the only driver to finish on the podium in both trips to Jeddah. Verstappen finished second to Lewis Hamilton — after some incredible racing and one-upmanship — at the inaugural race and won it last year. Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez took the pole for last year’s race but when a safety car was called right after he made a pit stop, it allowed Verstappen and Leclerc to easily pass him by pitting under yellow flag conditions.

For those reasons and Leclerc guaranteed to start no better than 11th, Verstappen has incredibly short odds according to BetMGM.

Best odds to win

  • Max Verstappen (-225)

  • Sergio Perez (+500)

  • Fernando Alonso (+700)

  • Carlos Sainz (+1400)

  • Charles Leclerc (+1800)

Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg understandably is bullish on Verstappen, recommending betting him for pole (+120) and race win.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix entries

Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari
Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes
George Russell (63), Mercedes
Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault
Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault
Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes
Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes
Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari
Nico Hulkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari
Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes
Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weather

The weekend forecast for Jeddah calls for 0% chance of precipitation and increasingly warm temperatures topping out around 90 degrees. That should lead to rubber being laid down more quickly and the track to evolve even quicker than normal. That could bode well for a team that makes a bold strategy call mid-race to capitalize.