Perez wins Saudi GP in Red Bull 1-2 ahead of Verstappen
Sergio Perez has won the Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix from pole and world champion Max Verstappen fought from 15th on the grid to second to give dominant Red Bull a second one-two finish from as many races this season.
Perez was briefly passed early on by Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso but never looked back en route to a fifth career win when he took the lead in lap four.
"I'm not sure it's my best weekend with the team, Melbourne will be even better," Mexican Perez said after his 5.355-second win and looking ahead to the next race in Australia on April 2.
Alonso finished third for the second consecutive race. He celebrated with the Red Bull drivers, but he was later handed a 10-second penalty for what the FIA said was incorrectly serving an earlier penalty and that dropped him to fourth.
The podium finish was then handed to George Russell of Mercedes, who called the penalty on Alonso "harsh." But Aston Martin appealed and hours after the race conclusion the penalty was reversed and Alonso's 100th career podium was reinstated.
"Having reviewed the new evidence, we concluded that there was no clear agreement, as was suggested to the Stewards previously, that could be relied upon," the FIA said.
"In the circumstances, we considered that our original decision to impose a penalty on Car 14 needed to be reversed and we did so accordingly."
Australian Oscar Piastri finished 15th in his McLaren and will hope to score his first points on home soil in Melbourne.
"Tough race after an unlucky start with damage to both cars on the opening lap," McLaren boss Zak Brown tweeted.
"Made it too difficult to turn things around. But we tried hard. Oscar P15, Lando [Norris] P17. Time to get our season back on track in Australia."
Verstappen had moved into second by the halfway mark of the 50-lap race on the 6.174-kilometres Jeddah Corniche Course on the banks of the Red Sea but never managed to hunt down Perez.
Verstappen remains top in the standings, thanks to the extra point he snatched through the fastest race lap on the last lap. He has 44 points, Perez 43 and Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso 27.
Red Bull have 87 points in the constructors' standings with Mercedes moving up to second on 41.
"It was not very easy to get through the field," Verstappen said.
"Once I cleared them one by one we got in a good rhythm, and I am happy to be on the podium."
Lewis Hamilton was fifth for Mercedes with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in sixth and seventh respectively. The Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were eighth and ninth and Kevin Magnussen took the final point for Haas.