Sergio Perez wins Saudi Arabian GP to lead second Red Bull one-two of the season making team history
Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen made Red Bull racing history on Sunday in Saudi Arabia having landed a second consecutive one-two finish since the season began.
Perez placed his RB19 in pole position for lights out at the high speed street circuit, while his teammate, Verstappen “had a mountain to climb” starting the race in P15 – after encountering mechanical issues during Qualifying.
The Mexican drove a stellar race to take his first 2023 victory which has placed him just one point behind his teammate and the reigning world champion.
Speaking after the race, Sergio Perez said: “I had a wicked race – which is a new word I learnt this week! I didn’t have a great start but after I got back around Fernando, I was able to create a good gap between the rest of the field and me… until the safety car came out and I was reminded of Jeddah 2022…
“It was a new race after the safety car though and I’m happy I was able to build a gap again and then keep it, even when Max was pushing at the end. Everyone back in Milton Keynes and here at the track have built such a fantastic car for us this season. I love being a part of this Team because of the way we push and the way we deliver, I’m so proud of us.
“The Team is working at such a high level so it’s really great to be a part of. In the end, we must remember it’s a long season but tonight was a massive team result.”
Verstappen, who started in P15 and finished in P2 then said: “The beginning of the race was a bit tricky, it was hard to follow in the train of cars because there was very low grip. At one point it all settled down a bit, I could move forward and the safety car helped a little bit. It was about being calm and overtaking the cars one by one.
“In general P2 was always the target today. Today was about recovering what was possible, if I had qualified P1 then today would have looked very different. I was catching Checo towards the end of the race but we calculated it wouldn’t be enough to make up the gap to him by the end of the race. I started to feel a vibration in the laps where I was catching and trying to push, I started to feel some instability in the car. Sometimes it’s better to just tell yourself it’s better to bring that P2 home.
“As a team we have to work on making sure both cars are reliable because we have a very fast car but I still think we can do a better job. I would like a clean weekend in Melbourne to maximise everything we can. I am happy with the way it is turning it out at the moment but it is still a long season.”
Team Principal, Christian Horner was noticeably delighted with the results, and as the day came to a close, he said: “What a race! All credit to the Team today. They’ve built an incredible car. That coupled with some truly fantastic driving has made for the best start to a season in our history, consecutive 1-2 finishes.
“Max had a mountain to climb, overcoming a significant deficit, but with over half the race to go, was already in P4. Similarly, Checo turned in an equally outstanding performance, perhaps the best drive I have ever seen from him. They were both going flat out, hard at it. Both drivers were free to race and they went for it.
“Max secured the fastest lap and Checo came away with the victory. It was an exemplary performance from both drivers, the Team here at the track and everyone back at the factory. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into a race such as this and it is the epitome of a team performing at the top of their game.
“We won’t rest on it though, Australia is just around the corner. It is a track that has not been kind to us in the past, so we want to ensure we are prepared, just as we were here, to give us the best chance of success and another first class performance.”