Sergio Perez managed to deny Max Verstappen a remarkable victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix by taking the chequered flag for himself at the end of an intriguing 50-lap contest on Sunday. The Mexican driver started from pole position and saw his lead stolen by Fernando Alonso on the very first lap but was eventually able to recover and went on to claim the spoils despite a spirited fightback from Verstappen, who climbed 14 positions to cross the line in second place.
It did not take long for Verstappen to make up some early ground as he sliced through the field like a knife through butter, with the safety car period following Lance Stroll's breakdown allowing the Dutchman to climb into fourth place. He made light work of George Russell and Alonso at the restart but was unable to chase down Perez, although he did manage to claim an extra championship point by setting the fastest lap of the race late on.
Meanwhile, it was another difficult race for Lewis Hamilton, who made up two positions to come home in fifth but was never in contention for a podium finish at any point. He was also held up by Mercedes team-mate George Russell for a large chunk of his final stint, with the King's Lynn native refusing to let Hamilton past despite being asked to by his race engineer.
There was also some post-race drama at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit when Alonso was stripped of his third-placed finish after he failed to serve an early five-second penalty in the correct manner, which saw Russell leapfrog the veteran Spaniard to claim Mercedes' first podium of the year. However, in yet another remarkable twist hours after the celebrations had died down, the FIA announced that Alonso's third-placed finish had been reinstated following a successful appeal by Aston Martin.
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