Sergio Perez, the ace of pace

21 March,2023 07:26 AM IST |  Jeddah  |  AFP

Red Bull boss Christian Horner insists Saudi Arabia GP win is Sergio’s greatest

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez celebrates winning the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday. Pic/AFP

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hailed Sergio Perez*s victory in Sunday*s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as the best of the Mexican*s career. He said the 33-year-old had demonstrated pace, cool temperament and great race management as he resisted a charge by team-mate and defending double world champion Max Verstappen to secure the fifth win of his career. "Personally, I think it was the best ever race for Checo, managing the pace and the restart. The pace that he had! And those guys were going absolutely flat out until we thought we had an issue with Max," Horner said.

Christian Horner

Alonso wins third place

While the top two were clear cut, the next two places remained in confusion long after the race had finished with Fernando Alonso first stripped of third place and then reinstated in the early hours of Monday morning. Perez, a 33-year-old Mexican, came home 5.355secs clear of the defending double world champion as Red Bull reeled off a masterful one-two triumph, the Dutchman having stormed through the field from 15th on the grid. Verstappen also clocked the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to retain his lead of the embryonic drivers* championship, snatching it back from Perez as they duelled at high speed. It was Perez*s fifth career win having previously triumphed in Monte Carlo and Singapore to earn his reputation as a ‘street fighter*.

Ferrari drivers unhappy

Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz slammed the performance of their cars after the Ferraris finished sixth and seventh. "There*s much less degradation here compared to Bahrain. So, overall, I think this should go more our way, but overall the pace is just not good enough. There wasn*t much more in the car today. That was the best we could do," Leclerc said. Teammate Sainz was also downcast after finishing sixth. "It*s difficult to find or take any positives when you are P6 and P7," Sainz said.

Also read: Max Verstappen completes practice clean sweep ahead of Saudi GP

Formula 2: Jehan races to double podium finish

India*s Jehan Daruvala swept to a double podium finish in the Saudi Arabian round of the Formula 2 championship here. The 24-year-old, who races for Dutch team MP Motorsport, had gone from fifth to third after engaging in a hard-fought battle for victory in Saturday*s Sprint Race. He followed that up with another drive to the final podium spot after a perfectly-executed and measured display in Sunday*s longer feature event. It makes him only the driver to finish among the top three in both races.

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