Second round of the 2023 Formula 1 World Cup, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix… And Alonso has already achieved one of the goals he had before leaving the discipline forever: add a hundred podiums. Or he would have if it were not for the sanctions imposed by the FIAwho acted badly in time and form to put him first five seconds due to a bad position on the grid, and then 10 with the race finished for not complying with that sanction correctly.
Apart from the penalty, the good news for the British team arrived, since could confirm the circuit-to-circuit improvement of the AMR23which this time ended just 20 seconds behind the first of the Red Bull, on this occasion Sergio Pérez (in Bahrain there were 38). He ended up being chanted by his entire team. They believe in him, and he believes in Aston Martin, despite the mistakes in today’s race.
Meanwhile, ahead, the Mexican was intractable even for his teammate, a Max Verstappen who rose from fifteenth position to second right in the middle of the race, after a spectacularly easy comeback in which Alonso was also the victim of ‘Mad Max’. ‘Czech’ added the fifth victory of his career, and squeezes the World Cup for now disputed between two colleagues, but Alonso is still on the prowl. And that is very good news.
The output was spectacularas well as bittersweet for Fernando Alonso. He came out like a shot, as only he knows how to do, and ate Pérez in the first corner. She held him for two laps, and then could only use his DRS for as many laps to put just enough distance on Russell. Very intelligent on the part of the Asturian. However, the Spanish received a five second penalty for misplacement in the starting boxalthough he was lucky with that later on as well.
Unable to reach Perez, or to be reached by the others, only the Verstappen’s meteoric rise and Leclerc to a lesser extent threatened the Asturian. Sainz tried, like Leclerc, to enter early to change his dynamicssince the Spanish had been passed by both Mercedes, but It was counterproductive, because Lance Stroll had to leave, causing a Safety Car, which continues without fail in Jeddah. Thus, the Ferraris finished sixth and seventh, behind the two Mercedes.
With the safety car almost the entire grid took the opportunity to go through the pits. Stroll’s problem with his AMR23 is worrying, a brake problem that should be solved. Luckily, Alonso’s did not suffer, the other way around. Thanks to SC, Alonso was able to serve his sanction without losing positionand continued in the fight, although just after Verstappen finished he gave a good account of him. Later, however, it would be discovered that the stop was not correct.
It was lap 25, and after that, not much happened either. Pérez kept Verstappen at bay, which at least took away the fastest lap in the last lap of the Grand Prix to continue leading the World Cup. From behind, in an unfavorable circuit, Alonso and the Aston Martin put time to their rivalsand he was barely moving away from the Red Bull, half the time he finished in Sakhir.
At the end of the race, Fernando Alonso’s 100th podium was consummated, but it vanished for that extra penalty. It doesn’t matter, because the sensations are great. Much better than anyone could expect at this point in the championship. Fernando continues to make half the world dream, and the best is yet to come. The Samurai is back.
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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, live: last minute of Alonso and Sainz’s race