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2023 F1 Saudi Arabian GP: Winners and Losers

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia
Sergio Perez made a statement with a brilliant win.

The 2023 Saudi Arabian GP saw Sergio Perez beat Max Verstappen in a fair fight to win the race. On an evening that saw Perez's early race advantage diminish, the Red Bull driver held off Max Verstappen and pretty much matched his teammate's speed during the second half of the race.

Mercedes scored their first podium, while Ferrari and to an extent Aston Martin had a disappointing race, while Haas scored their first point of the season. When it's all said and done and the teams have packed up after the race, who would be feeling giddy with happiness, and who would feel a bit disappointed? Let's take a look.


2023 F1 Saudi Arabian GP: Winners and Losers

Winner

Sergio Perez and Red Bull

Sergio Perez earned the win, there's no doubt about that, and there's no argument for him getting lucky.

Verstappen got the safety car that he would have wanted. He had a deficit of just five seconds with half the race left. This time around, though, Perez matched Verstappen lap for lap, and Red Bull felt obliged to call off the battle with a few laps left. That does not mean Perez becomes a title contender, though, as the overall gulf between the two drivers is just too big.

Our points-scorers on the Saudi streets ๐Ÿ‘‡#SaudiArabianGP #F1 https://t.co/htKutPxOVf

Having said that, what it means is that there will be a race or two where Perez will challenge Verstappen, and as a second driver, that's ideal for everyone. For Red Bull, too, the team is performing on an entirely different level. The race in Jeddah which was supposed to see more challenge from others saw a completely opposite scenario.

Unless the first set of major upgrades from Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari have a magic bullet, Red Bull are heading towards another dominant season.

Loser

Ferrari

Ferrari can officially call time on their aspirations for the 2023 title. The team should have had a car capable of fighting Red Bull in Jeddah. However, if there was one thing that seemed far too obvious, it was the fact that the Italian team is just not confident about the reliability of its power unit.

Throughout the Saudi Arabian GP race weekend, the team ran conservatively with its power unit. Even the qualifying session saw Red Bull jump Ferrari in straight line speed. A P6 and P7 are just not the kind of results Ferrari would have been looking for at the Saudi Arabian GP.

Winner

George Russell

George Russell was made to almost look ordinary in Bahrain by Lewis Hamilton. The driver, after outqualifying his compatriot, was swiftly disposed off at the start of the race and then left behind. Then came the second race of the season in Jeddah, and all the attention was on one Mercedes driver - Lewis Hamilton - whose future became the talk of the town.

George Russell takes his first podium of the season ๐Ÿ‘#SaudiArabianGP #F1 https://t.co/cKP0J40EEb

The second Mercedes driver was just forgotten. All of that changed at the Saudi Arabian GP, though, Russell was clearly the better driver in qualifying and in the race, reminding everyone that he's not a Valtteri Bottas who would take a defeat lying down.

Loser

McLaren

McLaren have two stunning drivers, and they tend to drag the car into Q3 or close to it. However, no matter how good the drivers are, the car is not up to scratch. In all fairness, it might be the slowest on the grid.

The team almost had a false dawn moment when Oscar Piastri reached Q3 in the Saudi Arabian GP qualifying. A day later, it became clear that it's not the case. The team eagerly waits for the upgr,ade as all hopes now stand on how that upgrade can bring the team back to contention.

Winner

Kevin Magnussen

Much has been made of Nico Hulkeneberg's return to F1 and the kind of speed he has shown. It's difficult to deny that the German has been sensational over a lap. That has even left Kevin Magnussen in the shade at times.

That changed during the Saudi Arabian GP as Magnussen, after being overtaken early in the race, undercut his teammate with an early pitstop. What was interesting was what happened after that.

Beating a valiant Yuki Tsunoda, Magnussen scored the team's first points of the season in the Saudi Arabian GP. It's just what was needed to remind everyone why he's still part of the team.

Loser

Alpine

Alpine looked almost menacing during the Saudi Arabian GP race weekend. Much was made of the car's short and long-run pace on Friday. The team was expected to be the dark horse in this race and possibly make their way into the front running group.

P8 and P9 today. Good points for the team ๐Ÿ‘Š #SaudiArabianGP #F1 https://t.co/jqdKTkXiGl

By the looks of it, the Saudi Arabian GP showed that while Alpine might be clear of the midfield, the car is just not quick enough to fight the top four. Both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly brought home decent , but by the looks of it, there's still work to be done by Alpine to be a frontrunner.

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Edited by Bhargav
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