The Hamilton Spectator

Perez holds off Verstappen’s charge


Sergio Perez won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and Max Verstappen drove from 15th to second to give Red Bull a 1-2 finish Sunday in what is shaping up to be a runaway season for the reigning Formula One champions.

And there have only been two races so far.

But it’s been two Red Bull wins, two 1-2 finishes, and an air of desperatio­n from everyone else on the grid.

Fernando Alonso finished third for the second consecutiv­e race for what would have been his 100th career podium. But he was later handed a 10-second penalty for incorrectl­y serving an early penalty and that dropped him to fourth.

But even as the Spaniard enjoys a renaissanc­e with his new Aston Martin team, Alonso has acknowledg­ed he had little chance at beating Red Bull.

Verstappen won a record 15 races last season and a second consecutiv­e F1 title, and Perez added another two victories as the 17 total wins in 23 races easily gave Red Bull the constructo­rs title. There have been no signs of an offseason drop in performanc­e and George Russell, who moved up to third after the Alonso penalty on on Sunday, predicted after the season-opener that Red Bull would win every race this season.

Lewis Hamilton finished fifth as Mercedes went third and fifth just three days after the seven-time F1 champion said the team needed three other organizati­ons not to finish a race for Mercedes to have a shot to win.

The show on Sunday was Verstappen, who overcame a mechanical problem in qualifying that forced him to start 15th and quickly work his way up the grid.

The Dutchman set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to retain his hold atop the F1 points standings.

 ?? ?? Sergio Perez won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Sergio Perez won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday.

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