Formula 1

Sergio Perez reflects on victory in Jeddah: “I had a wicked race”

3 Mins read
Credit: Peter Fox / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez took his fifth career victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, successfully converting his pole position and holding a gap to team-mate Max Verstappen, who crossed the line in second. 

Perez’s position up front was at risk in the race’s initial stages, with Fernando Alonso taking the lead off him into turn one. It wasn’t long, however, until he reclaimed the top spot with an overtake on Alonso under DRS. 

A mid-race safety car would put his lead in jeopardy once again, though he would ultimately pull far enough ahead afterward to secure the victory with Verstappen finishing about five seconds behind. 

“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.”

Perez said that he was excited to have achieved another amazing result with the team, once again proving to be a dominant force on the 2023 grid. He thanked his team members on site in Jeddah and back at headquarters for delivering such a strong car and helping secure a “massive team result.”

“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.”

“In general P2 was always the target today” – Max Verstappen

Verstappen began his race from an unusual starting position of fifteenth, having faced reliability issues during Saturday qualifying. He was able to recover quickly, ultimately returning to the podium positions by the race’s end.  

“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.”

The reigning world champion met the team’s objective of taking second place, though he still aimed to take victory off of his team-mate in the race’s late stages. In the end, he said that he was not quite close enough to grab the lead off of him before the checkered flag, in part hindered by worrying vibrations in the car. 

“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.”

Although the team was still able to secure a one-two, Verstappen pointed out reliability as a necessary point of improvement as development continues. Looking ahead to the Australian Grand Prix, Verstappen hopes to have a “clean” weekend without such issues occurring. 

“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 out at the moment but it is still a long season.”

Credit: Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
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