JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — 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.
“Nice job guys an excellent result for the team,” said Perez, who finished about 5 seconds ahead of Verstappen.
Through the first two races of the season it has been two Red Bull wins, two 1-2 finishes, and an air of desperation from everyone else on the grid.
Verstappen is chasing a third straight title and isn’t worried if it goes down to a straight fight between him and Perez.
“The best one will finish in front,” the Dutchman said.
Perez feels he’s yet to peak.
“I’m not sure it’s my best weekend with the team, Melbourne will be even better,” he said, looking ahead to the next race in Australia on April 2.
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 earlier 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.
“I was having fun out there and the car was feeling good,” Russell said after his 10th career podium. “I think it was harsh what happened to Fernando. But I’m happy to pick up the silverware.”
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.
“We are not where we want to be but we will get there,” Hamilton told his team.
The show on Sunday was Verstappen, who overcame a mechanical problem in qualifying that forced him to start 15th and quickly worked 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…
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