The Mexican driver Checo Pérez during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.AFP7 via Europa Press (AFP7 via Europa Press)
Checo Pérez once again dresses up as a hero.
The Mexican driver won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, his fifth victory in Formula 1, thanks to a dream weekend as he won
, held off Fernando Alonso and finally overtook two-time champion Max Verstappen.
Pérez has given the message to Red Bull that he too knows what it is to win.
The one from Guadalajara, in addition, has established himself as the luxury specialist in street tracks like the one this time, Azerbaijan, Monaco and Singapore.
Pérez had had a weekend of joys by getting into the first three places of the best times.
The great joy for the Mexican was to keep the best lap in qualifying helped by the misfortune of Verstappen, who got stuck in third gear and his car did not give more.
Pérez stood up for Red Bull to start first this Sunday, in
, on the track of Jeddah.
It was the second time that he obtained the privileged position in 13 years in Formula 1, the first was, in fact, in this same circuit last year.
The start was a test of survival against the reborn Fernando Alonso and George Russell.
The Mexican had a bad start and gave space to an aggressive Alonso.
The Spaniard, however, committed a violation at the start due to being badly positioned, which earned him a five-second waiting time penalty when he went out to the garages.
It was a breather for Checo Pérez who was behind.
On lap four, the darling of the Slims snatched the lead from Alonso.
From this point on, the mission for the Red Bull driver was to open the gap with the Aston Martin.
Pérez had a two-time Formula 1 champion behind him, a guy who retired in 2019 and came out of retirement two years later.
While the Mexican escaped and escaped, Verstappen overtook rivals as if there was no tomorrow from fifteenth position.
On turn 18 the drama began.
Lance Stroll's Aston Martin had to be shut down on track due to a brake problem.
That triggered a
Pérez changed tires, as did Alonso and Verstappen, so it was a restart of the race, a fresh start.
There Checo Pérez defended himself better from Alonso, to distance himself from the Spaniard by more than three seconds and record the fastest laps.
Right in the middle of the race, Verstappen climbed to second position, which opened the wound at Red Bull: let their two drivers compete?
Give Verstappen a free way despite Pérez's great weekend?
Checo Pérez's car overtakes Fernando Alonso's, in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.Hassan Ammar (AP)
The Mexican and the Dutch set out to run to the limit.
If the first one broke the lap record, the second one would snatch it away.
Pérez forced to maintain the distance of five seconds.
Verstappen complained that he heard a strange noise in the car when he was going at full speed.
The two-time champion's caution was no exaggeration after his Red Bull left him stranded in qualifying on Saturday.
The one from Guadalajara also told his engineer, Hugh Bird, that he had problems with the brake.
The Mexican, later, was asked to maintain a lower pace than Verstappen's.
Through the radio, Pérez replicated the decision until they let him go free.
Pérez took advantage of his partner by more than six seconds.
There was no objection for Checo Pérez to take a victory that he carved from minute zero.
28 podiums and five wins for Checo Pérez in Formula 1
Sergio Pérez, the best Mexican driver in history according to statistics, reached his twenty-eighth podium in Formula 1. He celebrates five victories: Shakhir 2020, Baku in 2021, Monaco and Singapore in 2022 and Saudi Arabia 2023).
In addition to 11 second places (Malaysia and Italy in 2012, Turkey in 2020, Australia, Imola, Spain, Baku, Great Britain, Belgium and Japan in 2022, plus second place in Bahrain in 2023) and 12 third places (Canada, in 2012; Bahrain, in 2014; Russia, in 2015, Monaco and Baku in 2016 and 2018, at the Grand Prix of France, Turkey, the United States, Mexico City in 2021 and 2022 and Abu Dhabi in 2022).
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