F1 Fastest Lap – 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

Max Verstappen recovered his poor qualifying to keep his championship lead with the fastest lap

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Red Bull dominated the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and even claimed the fastest lap thanks to Max Verstappen.

The two-time world champion started way back in 15th after a mechanical issue in qualifying put him on the back foot but he produced a storming drive to come home second behind teammate Sergio Perez.

Red Bull were the dominant team all afternoon on the coast of the Red Sea and for much of the race with Perez and Verstappen trading the purple lap back and forth, lap after lap following the safety car restart.

The to and fro of the battle subsided as the laps ticked away, however, with both cars looking to manage their workload to the chequered flag. On the final lap of the race, Verstappen put his foot to the floor and claimed the extra world championship point.

The Dutchman set a lap time of 1:31:906 to take the outright lead in the standings by one point over his Mexican teammate, who deserved his victory in Jeddah.

Different league

Everyone expected the Bulls to be the cars to beat in F1 in 2023 but nobody perhaps saw the sizeable gap they have to the rest of the field coming. Both in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, they were able to coast away from the pack and win without really getting out of the theoretical second gear.

Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin was the only car even remotely close to the Red Bull duo all weekend but he kept falling further and further behind with every lap. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton could not hold a torch to Red Bull as they followed Alonso home and Ferrari were even further away.

The prancing horse could have blamed the timing of the safety car for Lance Stroll’s broken-down Aston Martin having lost numerous places and time after pitting prior to the caution.

In this form, it is not unthinkable that Red Bull could go on and win every single race this year.

Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
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