F1 preview: A lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
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Red Bull cruised to victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with Sergio Perez taking his first win of the season. Max Verstappen valiantly battled back from P15 to second after a storming drive through the midfield in the opening stages.
But, the result closes the championship battle to within one point with the Dutchman holding a slim advantage over his team-mate. After the race, the pair were embroiled in a tense discussion after it emerged Verstappen may have defied team orders to set the fastest lap.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes continued to struggle in Jeddah but the squad looked closer to the front than they were in Bahrain. George Russell pipped his team-mate to P4 but was on the receiving end of some harsh words from Hamilton after the race.
In the media pen, he pointed the finger at Russell for usually picking the “wrong” set-ups for races. Fernando Alonso finished P3 but believed he had been stripped of his podium after receiving a 10-second time penalty after the Grand Prix.
He criticised the FIA for a “poor show” in a confusing situation which later saw Alonso reinstated as the third-place finisher after an appeal.
Hamilton makes George Russell dig
Russell got the better of Hamilton in Jeddah to outscore his more experienced team-mate for the first time this season.
However, Hamilton claimed Russell’s result was down to having a better set-up, something which is a rarity for the ex-Williams star.
He said: “There was a 50-50 choice. I chose one way and he chose another.
“More often than not, the way he went was the wrong one but it just happened to work. I could only match his pace rather than be quicker this weekend but I’ll work hard to make sure we’re in a better place next time.”
Alonso slams the FIA over penalty confusion
Alonso ripped into the FIA after it emerged he had lost his podium after being slapped with a 10-second time penalty.
The Spaniard later had the position reinstated after an appeal from Aston Martin.
However, the Spaniard felt the race stewards should have made the call earlier to give him a fighting chance of pulling out a lead over Mercedes.
He explained: “I think it’s more an FIA poor show today than disappointment from ourselves. When you cannot apply a penalty 35 laps after the pit stop.
“They had enough time to really inform me about the penalty, if I knew that maybe I open 11 seconds to the car behind.”
Red Bull in awkward talks
Sergio Perez praised Max Verstappen for tense talks after the race when it emerged the Dutchman had stolen the fastest lap right at the death,
Perez was on course to lead the championship before Verstappen took away the fastest lap point on the final lap.
However Perez appeared annoyed at Verstappen after it emerged the 25-year-old may have dodged a team request,
In the cool-down room, the Mexican said: “Weren’t you told to keep the pace?”
But, Verstappen defended his decision, adding: “1.33.0, yes. In the end, I asked what the fastest lap was and it was not much faster than we had already driven.”
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