Sergio Perez took his fifth win in Formula 1 at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, after what he labeled a “wicked race”, a term the Mexican recently added to his vocabulary.
Perez might have enjoyed some luck, when his teammate Max Verstappen dropped out of qualifying on Saturday from Q2, after a driveshaft failure put the reigning F1 Champion out of contention.
Hence, Perez took his second career pole position, his first also in Jeddah in 2022, but on race day, he did not really rely on luck, and despite losing out to Fernando Alonso at the start, he re-took the lead early in the race.
The Safety Car that came after Lance Stroll broke down, mean that Verstappen closed the gap and was chasing Perez down, but the #11 RB19 was in control in the hands of its pilot always responding to the Dutchman’s assaults.
In the end, Perez finished the race over five seconds ahead of Verstappen, the latter denying the fastest lap of the race and the extra point that comes along with it on the final lap to keep his lead in the Drivers’ Championship by one point.
New win, new word
“I had a wicked race – which is a new word I learnt this week!” Perez said after the race in Red Bull‘s media brief.
“I didn’t have a great start but after I got back around Fernando, I was able to create a good gap between the rest of the field and me… until the safety car came out and I was reminded of Jeddah 2022,” he added referring to the 2022 race in Jeddah where he lost out after an untimely Safety Car ruined his race.
“It was a new race after the safety car though and I’m happy I was able to build a gap again and then keep it, even when Max was pushing at the end. Everyone back in Milton Keynes and here at the track have built such a fantastic car for us this season.
“I love being a part of this Team because of the way we push and the way we deliver, I’m so proud of us. The Team is working at such a high level so it’s really great to be a part of.
“In the end, we must remember it’s a long season but tonight was a massive team result,” the 33-year-old concluded.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was full of praise for Perez, who he said “turned in an outstanding performance” claiming that his race in Jeddah was “perhaps the best drive I have ever seen from him”.