What a night we had that day. Alonso had an almost perfect Sunday in Jeddah and achieved third place behind Pérez and Verstappen. He went up to the podium, celebrated and bathed in rosewater, because here there is no champagne. But when he was going to the corralito of the televisions, the FIA informed him that they were applying a ten-second penalty on the final result of the race and that he fell to fourth place in favor of Russell. This was the case during a three long hour appeal by Aston Martin. Already at dawn on Jeddah Corniche, the commissioners accepted the new evidence from Fernando’s team and returned him his 100th podium. The wait was long. Although after years to see Fernando in a competitive car, three hours are not important.
The instruction is simple: Alonso received a five-second penalty for an incorrect position on the starting grid. His AMR23 was offset slightly to the left. He served the penalty at his pit stop on lap 19. But one of his mechanics rear-jacked the car before five seconds and Mercedes claimed on the final lap that the penalty had not been served properly. The commissioners listened, so they applied a second ten-second penalty on the Aston Martin. Then the English justified in the review that “touching a car” is not “working on a car”, which is prohibited by regulation, so the FIA returned Fernando the podium that he had indeed enjoyed, but for a few hours he did not it belonged to him.
Czech, plenty against Verstappen
That was in the offices. Before, on the track, Checo Pérez was full of courage and manliness against Verstappen and against whoever. The Mexican did not lower his head before the spectacular (and easy) Max’s comeback, from 15th to 2nd, and responded to the fast laps of the Dutch gamecock with fastest laps and a surgical lead management. If you want broth, take three traces. He lost his fear of the champion and won the Saudi Arabian GP from pole position. He was not intimidated He held a five-second lead against his teammate in the final ‘rush’ and thus crossed the finish line: winner and first Red Bull ahead of Verstappen. This is how the territory is marked. Although the Dutchman is the championship leader for the fastest lap achieved at the horn.
Fernando’s start had been almost perfect, because in 300 meters he had a straight line to overtake Pérez. It wasn’t perfect due to the placement error on the grid, one of those trifles that the race director, Niels Wittich, has been looking at lately with a keen eye. He also went too rigorous when he took out the ‘safety car’ on lap 18 due to a breakdown of Stroll, when the Canadian had parked his car perfectly in the runaway. That decision, in the end, excessively facilitated Verstappen’s comeback.
The ‘safety car’ was almost the most exciting part of the race: Checo, Alonso, Russell and Verstappen stopped, and went out onto the track in that order. Behind, Hamilton passed Sainz on the straight with the DRS with no chance of a response from Ferrari. Sunday became a procession for those from Maranello with Carlos sixth and Leclerc seventh. Carlos had more rhythm at the end because he was less protesting on the radio. In the end he got seven seconds. But the Spanish double podium will have to wait.