F1 is Red Bull’s domain in Saudi Arabia. Sensational Alonso: penalized while on the podium. It’s late at night for Ferrari

The King of Saudi Arabia is Sergius Perezfor the Ferrari instead it is deep night like in Jeddah. The Mexican is super, he only makes a mistake at the start against Fernando Alonso (who shoots in front of everyone but gets one penalty five seconds), then responds great to the super low 1’32” when Max Verstappen (started 15th) finds himself second behind him. It is the fifth career victory for the Mexican: all arrived on city-type circuits after Sakhir 2020, Baku 2021, Montecarlo and Singapore 2022. For Maranello, instead, it is different race no: the SF-23 does not ride on hard rubber. Precisely for this reason, the more than doubtful entry of the Safety for the withdrawal of Lance Stroll it cannot be an excuse. Carlos Sainz finished sixth ahead of Charles Leclerc, the nearly five seconds of the Spanish from Lewis Hamilton fifth (although the Englishman closed the race on medium tyres) speak for themselves.

On the podium an extraordinary Alonso, who however comes penalized during the ceremony of awards. This is because he didn’t properly dispose of the five second penalty (conceded at the start) when he returns to the box with the Safety Car already on track. In fact, the FIA ​​regulation says that the penalty can only be served before the safety car comes out (or before the procedure is activated). On the podium therefore goes the Mercedes of George Russell, who had finished fourth ahead of Hamilton. In points also the two Alpine by Ocon and Gasly and the Haas by Kevin Magnussen (tenth after overtaking Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri in the final).

The match report: Alonso starts well
Alonso is on fire before departure. Even too much: Spanish has nothing to do with it pitch (goes too far left), but still overtakes poleman Pérez at the end of the straight. Unfortunately for him it arrives immediately penalty by five seconds, while Sainz is overtaken on the outside by Stroll’s Aston Martin. Three laps go by and Pérez takes back the first position before turn 1, while the comebacks of Leclerc And Verstappen. The Monegasque passes Gasly and Hamilton, the Dutch chases and gets behind him. In the meantime, in front, Pérez lengthens Alonso by five seconds, while the feigned Ferrari to call Sainz to the pits on lap 13 proves to be effective: the Aston Martin sends Stroll into the pits to insert the hard gears, while the Spaniard overcuts three laps later and takes the position on the Canadian.

Leclerc enters, then it’s up to the Safety Car
In the meantime, on lap 17, Verstappen is immediately behind Leclerc, but the Monegasque is called back to the pits before being overtaken to put on tires that are also hard, returning eighth. Suddenly, however, a problem comes for Stroll who is forced to withdraw and that’s what it’s called Safety Car. A somewhat dubious decision of the Fiaas the Canadian had stopped the car in one safe location of the track. A bad luck for Leclerc, who had recently changed tires and is in seventh place behind Hamilton, in the middle of the two Ferrari drivers with a set of new yellow tyres. Good also for Russell, Verstappen and Alonso, who mount the hard tires and find themselves third, fourth and second respectively. The Spaniard serves the five-second penalty during the pit (Not regularly), now being able to push freely.

The duel between Pérez and Verstappen begins
Safety returns on lap 21, while one lap later Hamilton take advantage of the yellow ones to get out of turn 2 better and overtake Sainz, now sixth ahead of Leclerc. On the 24th and 25th laps he takes the chair Verstappen, who passes first Russell and then Alonso at the end of the straight. Thus starting the hunting against his boxmate Pérez, who tries in every way to push to keep the advantage by five seconds from the Dutchman. Max is furious and takes super fast laps in 1’32”, confirming the pace also in the following laps, the Mexican holding the same hard rubber. Behind Leclerc tries to approach in area Drs to pass Sainz, who replies. The Monegasque stays behind and lo downside widens to over two seconds, when Charles cuts the turn 2 chicane.

For Red Bull some problems, Verstappen does not obey
Between the duo Red Bull is one nerve challenge. With fast laps, the battle at the top continues, while Alonso, third, is 13 seconds away from Verstappen. On lap 36, the Dutchman continues to fire super fuchsia and reaches 4”3, before starting to complain about thetransmission shaft, the same changed after qualifying on Saturday. “I don’t feel it sliding, I hear a strange noise,” she says. In the box of Milton Keynes the heart rises in the throat, when Pérez also hears the brake pedal not okay. They tell Verstappen to lower his pace to 1’33”, but the Dutchman doesn’t want to hear about it. The gap between the two is still 4”3 because the number 1 doesn’t want to obey the team’s orders. The Mexican takes back the fastest lap, while Verstappen starts to slow down with five laps to go, realizing that there’s nothing more he can do.

Verstappen, final joke in Pérez with the fastest lap
In the rear, there is the super duel in sauce McLaren Between Norris And Plates, who beat each other out despite the 16th place. The Australian passes on the last corner, Norris regains his strong position in turn 2. In the end, the Australian passes two laps later and in the final he also overtakes Sargeant, finishing 15th. Thus it continues until the end, while Magnussen manages to take the tenth place on Tsunoda after a duel that lasted from the return of the Safety Car forward. In the final, despite the at least four warnings given by the team to Verstappen, the Dutchman goes in search of the fast ride in the last round, while Pérez does not. In the end the world champion succeeds in 1’31”906, disobeying the team. Alonso is disqualified by the FIA ​​while on the podium. Russell thus closes third in front of the Asturian. For Ferrari, after Sakhir, it’s still late at night and a car that doesn’t work with hard tires. Car to improve or wrong project? The next races they will say more.

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