Alonso was also able to take advantage, as he could take his time penalty when the rest of the field was circulating more slowly. The rear jack was in contact with the car but race control – supporting by the FIA’s remote operations centre in Geneva – was happy that no work was done within the five-second window.
On the restart, Perez pulled away comfortably, and Alonso managed to edge away from Russell again too. Verstappen took just five laps to move up to second place by the halfway stage – using DRS to his advantage on both occasions – while Hamilton cleared the one car he had lost a place to during the pitstops as he pulled a smart switchback on Sainz to regain fifth.
At this point the gap between Perez and Verstappen was five seconds, and with a clear run the smart money would be on the defending champion closing in. But after Alex Albon retired with a brake problem, Verstappen started complaining about driveshaft concerns that reminded him of Saturday’s failure.
“Once I got into P2, it was quite a decent gap, on a track where there’s not a lot of deg. So I tried to close the gap a bit. But then, at one point, I picked up these vibrations on the driveshaft again, on the rear. The team couldn’t see anything, but I’m fairly sure there was something odd going on with the balance since the vibration started to kick in.
“So, at one point, I did the calculations, and I wouldn’t have been able to close that gap to the end with only 10 laps left. So, at one point it’s more important to just settle for second: not having an issue with the car.”
“The safety car again wanted to take the victory away from me in Jeddah, but not this time!”
Perez had kept the gap over four seconds throughout and despite some concerns over whether Verstappen was receiving the same messages to manage his pace, he was able to comfortably cruise home.
“It was going well, when I overtook Fernando I thought I could do my race,” Perez said. “But then the safety car again wanted to take the victory away from me in Jeddah, but not this time! We managed to get a good distance with Max, we kept a healthy lead and that went well.
“I’m proud of getting the victory. We know how strong Max is in the races and we’ve been matching him in Bahrain, we matched him here, so we have to keep working really hard. I think my team is doing a great job, we managed to get a good read on the high fuel, so I’m proud of my team today.”