Jeddah Grand Prix Brings More Drama: Surprises and Setbacks for Drivers
The Jeddah Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia was filled with unexpected twists and turns for Formula 1 drivers, leaving many of them dissatisfied with their performances. From post-race penalties to underperforming cars, it was a challenging weekend for almost every driver on the track. However, some managed to rise to the occasion and secure impressive victories, while others faced disappointment due to unexpected setbacks. Let’s take a closer look at the highlights and lowlights of this dramatic race weekend.
This could have been due to receiving a post-race penalty, underperforming in the car, or feeling like they weren’t given sufficient warning that their teammate was about to take the fastest lap.
Upon the deployment of the safety car, Sergio Perez’s substantial lead over his teammate Max Verstappen was nullified. One might assume that this would result in a triumph for Verstappen.
However, Perez showcased remarkable driving skills and capitalized on his slender advantage, even as Verstappen had to overtake George Russell and Fernando Alonso with ease. Perez maintained his lead effectively and even responded to Verstappen’s aggressive series of laps, despite Red Bull’s instructions for both drivers to regulate their pace.
Verstappen’s speedy final lap prevented Perez from taking the lead in the F1 drivers’ championship for the first time. Nevertheless, he couldn’t prevent Perez from securing what could be his greatest race victory with Red Bull.
Alonso’s post-race disappointment brought unexpected joy for Russell, who went from being at risk of being overtaken by his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to temporarily securing a spot on the podium after Alonso received a penalty. Russell had a decent race and stayed close to Alonso, although it was due to his mistaken belief that Alonso had not yet served his penalty.
Consequently, Russell had the chance to be recognized as the third-place finisher for a while, until Aston successfully appealed Alonso’s penalty.
Despite only managing to secure fourth place during the weekend, it was undoubtedly a positive performance from Russell. He appears to be energized by Mercedes’ recent shift in development philosophy, which he has observed behind the scenes.
Kevin Magnussen may have been concerned by his second consecutive loss to his Haas teammate Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying, but he made a strong comeback with an impressive race on Sunday. He opted for a lengthy run on the hard tires, which culminated in a late surge for the final points position.
After a couple of less-than-perfect attempts, he executed a successful overtake on Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri at Turn 1 and secured Haas’s and his first point of the 2023 season.
On lap one, Alonso made an impressive start by overtaking Perez for the lead. However, beating the Red Bulls was always going to be a daunting task, as Perez smoothly overtook him at Turn 1 on lap four.
Thus, third place was the best possible outcome for Alonso, which he achieved but then lost due to a penalty for failing to serve his initial five-second time penalty properly, resulting in him being demoted to fourth place.
Even if it had remained so, it would still have been a positive weekend that established Aston Martin as a legitimate contender to be the best team behind Red Bull this year.
However, the team also demonstrated its resilience off-track by promptly producing a valid argument to reverse the penalty and restore Alonso’s milestone 100th podium.
Ferrari didn’t experience any strategy mishap, crash, or collision on Sunday. Instead, it was simply an issue of inadequate performance, which is the most unsatisfactory explanation for any F1 team’s poor showing.
The timing of the safety car did not assist them, but finishing in sixth and seventh place without putting any pressure on the Mercedes and Aston Martin ahead was a lackluster outcome.
Charles Leclerc began his attack brightly on the soft tires, but as soon as Ferrari switched to the hard ones, their progress was halted, and they seemed to be firmly in fourth place in Jeddah.
Lance Stroll’s race began on a high note with a remarkable overtake on Carlos Sainz. However, it ended in disappointment as his Aston Martin malfunctioned after only 18 laps.
Stroll appeared to be capable of contending with the Ferraris and Mercedes, but we will never be certain of where he would have finished in the end.
McLaren’s race was ruined when Oscar Piastri and Pierre Gasly collided on the opening lap.
Piastri lost part of his front wing, which Lando Norris then collided with, damaging his own front wing and ending his race prematurely.
With a second consecutive no-score, McLaren is one of only two teams without any points so far in 2023, even though the MCL60 appeared to be a points contender throughout the first two weekends.
Although McLaren anticipated a challenging start to the season with a vehicle that lacks performance, it could not have predicted how action-packed the start of its 2023 campaign would be.
Williams had a strong start to the 2023 season with Alex Albon earning a point in Bahrain. However, they were unable to repeat this success in Jeddah, as Albon retired from the race and Logan Sargeant’s weekend didn’t live up to its potential.
Albon was not in a position to compete for points when he retired, and Sargeant appeared to have difficulty managing the medium tires he opted for during the safety car period, slipping back and losing a position to Piastri on the last lap. He finished in 16th place, more than 21.4 seconds behind the final point-scoring position.
Jeddah Grand Prix Brings More Drama: Surprises and Setbacks for Drivers Jeddah Grand Prix Brings More Drama: Surprises and Setbacks for Drivers Jeddah Grand Prix Brings More Drama: Surprises and Setbacks for Drivers Jeddah Grand Prix Brings More Drama: Surprises and Setbacks for Drivers
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