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Formula 1: Perez won in Jeddah ahead of Verstappen and Alonso

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Perez is celebrated by his teammates.
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Third was George Russell in the Mercedes, the Briton benefited from a subsequent ten-second penalty from Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso.

It was Perez’s fifth career win. The Spaniard Alonso, meanwhile, was deprived of the 100th podium of his career – but only after the award ceremony, which he still attended. Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in the Mercedes behind Alonso. In sixth and seventh place, the Ferrari pairing of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc again stayed far away from the top.

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“It was a bit tougher than I expected,” said Perez. “I was on my way to victory here last year too, now I finally have it. The team did a fantastic job.” The Mexican is just one point behind Verstappen in the World Cup standings. Two weeks ago in Bahrain, Verstappen had won ahead of Perez, but neither of them had snagged the fastest lap. This time Verstappen struck in the very last lap and thus snatched the lead from Perez.

“It wasn’t easy to get through the whole field. I slipped around a lot in the first sector. Once I found the rhythm, it went well,” said the defending champion, happy about the podium. Only for the second time did Red Bull manage two double victories in a row in Formula 1.

Alonso took the lead at the start from second, but the stewards took it for granted that the Spaniard parked his car too far to the left of his starting marker. As a result, he was given a five-second time penalty. In the fourth lap of a total of 50 laps, Perez overtook Alonso relatively easily, the two-time world champion’s Aston Martin was then unable to keep up with the Red Bull’s pace.

Verstappen ended up with problems

Leclerc, who started from twelfth place, and Verstappen meanwhile steadily fought their way forward. After a third of the race distance, both were already in the top five, then Leclerc got new tires. The first retirement affected Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin on lap 18 due to a technical problem. This triggered the first safety car deployment on the narrow street circuit, which many used for relatively cheap pit stops. Alonso served his penalty in the pits, but not correctly, which later earned him the second sanction.

Verstappen overtook Russell on the 23rd and Alonso on the 25th lap – this opened the internal Red Bull duel for victory. However, Perez made no mistakes, his lead stayed at almost five seconds for a long time and never went below four seconds. Ten laps before the end, Verstappen reported to the pit wall that there was a possible drive shaft problem. A defect in the same had meant the premature end of qualifying for his car on Saturday. However, his lap times remained consistently good. But not fast enough to put Perez under pressure.

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