Race start, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Rate the race: 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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What did you think of today’s race? Share your verdict on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

RaceFans has held polls on every F1 race since 2008 to find out which fans thought of each round of the season.

Join in the latest poll and give your verdict on the race: 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest. Please vote based on how entertaining and exciting you thought the race was, not on how your preferred driver or team performed.

What were the best and worst moments of the race? What was the main thing you’ll remember about it? Rate the race out of ten and leave a comment below:

Rate the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix out of 10

  • 10 (1%)
  • 9 (0%)
  • 8 (4%)
  • 7 (13%)
  • 6 (21%)
  • 5 (21%)
  • 4 (19%)
  • 3 (8%)
  • 2 (6%)
  • 1 (7%)

Total Voters: 152

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1 = ‘Terrible’, 10 = ‘Perfect’

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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60 comments on “Rate the race: 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix”

  1. 4/1.It would be a 2/10 considering the fake SC.
    By the way, it is shaping up to be the worst season since 2013.

    1. +1 in the words of RedBull “there is no race” gutted that this season is already a championship write off. Nothing against RedBull; they’ve built a great car, but as a fan of the sport my interest is now extremely low.

      1. but as a fan of the sport my interest is now extremely low

        As a fan of either redbull, mercedes or ferrari, you mean, right?

        The previous decade has been so focused on those three teams, Mercedes in particular. That’s been non-boring for their fans, I suppose; but quite tedious for the rest of us. I’ve long since learnt not to care about the first six positions – as you’ll now need to ignore the two first.

        Now, on the other hand, the coverage actually shows whats going on in the midfield and for the back-markers. In stead of 75% of all shots showing a Mercedes cruising and 75% of the rest being Redbull and Ferrari fighting for the next 4 positions, at least half the shots are actually about racing…

    2. Since 2013? What about the Mercedes dominance years?

      1. At least you had Rosberg vs Hamilton.

        1. In that case you have 2015 and 2020.

    3. The SC made the race, worse not better.

  2. Decent until the pointless SC after which pretty straightforward with only a few battles in lower positions.

    1. Normally the consolation prize for a Safety Car is that everyone being bunched up gives us great racing. But in this, everyone seemed to settle in car order and hold steady. It had been a good race up to that point, and that seemed to take the heat out of it. Shame

  3. Was that the most pointless safety car ever or what? I cannot understand why that couldn’t have been covered by VSC. Lance had done a great job to find the gap and park as safely as possible. It’s a shame Alonso’s Aston isn’t quite fast enough to really challenge the Red Bulls. He’s stuck in a bit of a no-mans-land at the moment. I suspect he’ll keep raking in the podiums. Gave this one a 6. Entertaining enough but by no means a classic. Oh and McLaren are truly woeful. Such a shame…

    1. Wasn’t pointless, it greatly benefited Verstappen.

      1. Hence pointless, if not detrimental to the race, cause verstappen would’ve made it to 2nd anyway, there just would’ve been more fighting.

  4. 2/10. Those DRS passes were ridiculous.

  5. Pretty flat after the Safety Car. Very pleased that Perez was able to hold off Verstappen though, that was impressive.

    1. puneeth bharath
      19th March 2023, 18:38

      They drive the same car and still Perez gets praised for holding off his team mate … Having had a head start (know the sc wipes out some of that advantage but he still has about 5 secs to play with a guy in an equal car).. just proves Perez ain’t worthy of that seat

      1. He is doing the job he is asked to do. Protect Max and win when needed.

        1. puneeth bharath
          19th March 2023, 18:55

          He’s asked to do that job because he can’t hold a candle to verstappen …he simply isn’t a top driver … remove nds me of bottas in Mercedes

        2. He is doing the job he is asked to do. Protect Max and win when needed.

          He is only doing that now that there is no competition. He couldn’t finish 2nd in the WDC last year when Verstappen won more races than anyone ever has in a single season and only beat Leclerc on pure pace a handful of times.

          He did a good job today, no question, but it’s not exactly a star performance to win in a Red Bull this season.

      2. This has to be the strangest take after a driver just took pole and dominated a race…

  6. 3/10.

    Awful. Mostly boring DRS passes and a ridiculous unnecessary show above sports nascar caution.

  7. A race ruined by the two great evils of modern-day Formula 1. DRS making passing ridiculously easy and making a fast driver fighting through the grid uninteresting, and a totally unnecessary safety car giving some drivers unfair advantages over others depending on when they had pitted.

    1. Yet, the only driver to score a point outside the five best brands pitted long before the safety car…

  8. For once a driver actually manages to find one of the dozens of exit gaps and they still throw a Safety Car. Just ruins the race to do that in between all the stops. Niels Wittich still doesn’t get he can actually order the use of yellow flags; they’re there for a reason.

    Anyway, good job Red Bull. The rest of the field is better off racing in F2.

  9. Rubbish once again. Red Bull storming off into the distance with Alonso cruising to 3rd. As others have said, it’s going to be a very long season. The 2022 regulation changes have failed miserably.

  10. Gone for a 4.
    Pretty drab race on the whole.

    Fernando is probably the person really enjoying the season so far ;)

  11. I’ll go with 4/10.

    The SC was unnecessary given where Lance had parked, Could have easily been pushed forward a bit to get him behind the barrier under a VSC at most. He was in a safer place than Leclerc was in Bahrain given the car was 98% behind the barrier already. Given how things had started to spread out a bit I can’t help but think the only reason they went with a full SC was to bunch everyone up again & that isn’t how the SC should be used.

    But as others have mentioned above the race also highlighted one of my biggest hates with DRS in that it makes faster cars coming through a far more straightforward thing that it used to be where we had fast drivers starting further back actually having to fight there way through. In the DRS era it’s easier for fast guys to move forward and far harder for drivers in mid-field cars who pulled out a mega qualifying lap to stay towards the front & these are things I don’t see as been positives.

    1. @stefmeister Exactly, and you know it’s beyond bad when even Hamilton can’t be bothered to defend a position. Modern drivers would probably think Bernoldi was crazy for even trying to keep Coulthard behind all those laps in Monaco 2001, which was admittedly rare even then, but still.

      1. @MichaelN:
        I get the point you’re trying to make but I disagree with your example. Ricciardo leading with a very slow RBR would counter it. You can’t compare with Monaco.

      2. Indeed, also I feel like hamilton in recent years isn’t very motivated to defend, compared to say russell he doesn’t try hard enough, think about australia last year defending vs perez compared to russell: russell tried a lot harder, think about abu dhabi 2021, even with the tyre disavantage, if you swapped hamilton and verstappen’s situations, verstappen would’ve risked a crash to keep hamilton behind, or even in austin 2022, a rare chance to win that year for hamilton, he didn’t defend hard enough.

  12. A complete snoozefest after the unnecessary safety car. 2/10

  13. Gonna be a long season or more probably 3 or 4.

  14. Safety car ruined the strategies that were unfolding….explanation of why it was deployed sounded so stupid as well…some sort of automated thing detecting the car was parked on track when any human looking at the situation could see it wasn’t.

  15. Dreadful. I will give it a -2 if I could.
    Also, IMO this track is a joke, needs to be scrapped asap.

    1. I beg to differ. Saudi Arabia is an awful place to have a F1 race IMHO, but the track itself is pretty good. I like the unforgiving walls a lot more than the huge run-offs we see almost everywhere else but Monaco. Anyway, the DRS is way too effective and ruins the racing.

  16. It’s just too obvious there’s a policy in F1 of having safety cars whenever they possibly can, to ‘spice up the show’. It’s just dishonest. And today it backfired as their tame but dumb race director followed it mindlessly with a few cm of rear wing showing.

    1. @zann This is probably true, but in that case they need someone who actually understands F1 racing and strategy to decide when it will improve ‘the show’ and when it will actually detract from it. Anyone who has followed F1 for a few years knows that if you drop a safety car during the pit window of a 1-stop race before most of the field has pitted, then it’s just going to ensure everyone ends up on the same strategy and the same tyre which neutralises any advantages gained in the first stint and prevents any under/over-cuts happening.

      Ofc, this shouldn’t be a factor at all and they should actually use the safety car only when it is required for, you know, safety.

      1. Yes @Keith Campbell they should only be using it for safety, and they obviously don’t. In fact they don’t need a safety car at all, now when they can just set a speed limit for any small section of track like 30kph and even say which side of the track cars should pass on. The old thing of needing the cars bunched up to leave room for cranes is obsolete, so the entire thing is fake. So now we have a race and it might show who did the racing best, or it might not. And the SC is not a random luck thing, it’s a manipulation, even a VSC which it could have been.

        As for a racing director who understands, they’ve got one, but they give him a policy of faking the show, like you know who obviously got given. But this time he pulled the trigger on auto, so even the DTS drama fans have noticed.

  17. The SC was close to unnecessary, and then proportionally to it, it lasted very long and had a huge effect on the race’s dynamic and outcome

    If I were Ferrari I have applied team orders and let Leclerc after the Mercs, because this way we have not seen what Hamilton can do if he needs to push on one compound less durable than the surrounding competitors. For the same reason imo he aborted the effort of fighting with Russell, and accepted the result early, or at least he had to play the waiting game.
    While I have a feeling, as similar things happened strategy or pit wall decisions-wise to Leclerc, that Leclerc might play the nice game vs the teammate (what is imo nice without having more information), especially if not supported, he just accepts the result instead, and goes a bit lacklustre at the particular GP.

    Oh boy, and the “sabotage” comes to Alonso 🙄🙃🙄

    All it is far from my favourite tracks, and it is best to get over it early in the season, so it is at a right place in the second slot of the calendar, as I would be totally unhappy with having it as a season opener. So I agree with the medium-low ratings posted yet. Even on this track it could have been a bit better.

    1. If I were Ferrari I have applied team orders and let Leclerc after the Mercs

      For whatever reason Ferrari seems to have a policy to never ever ask Sainz to let Leclerc by, even if it ruins the latter’s race and means they just cruise to the finish at Sainz’ pace.

      1. Actually they seem very averse to team orders now I think about it (silly, right, after the 2002 situation?), I rarely hear ferrari asking to let either driver past, and I definitely remember a race, probably last year, when they told sainz (because leclerc was nearing in) that he had to lap within a certain time, gave him a couple laps, then said “this is not good enough, we’re swapping the cars” and he let leclerc by, so they seem to not give team orders if not absolutely necessary and do so reluctantly, but they can give team orders in leclerc’s favour, even if I also feel there’s some sainz favouritism.

    2. Correction:
      All in all it is far from my…

    3. Could have been a 5 or 6, with the tension between Checo and Max near the end. The needless and way-too-late penalty for Fred ruined it for me, would give it negative points if available.

    4. Close to unnecessary? What’s good enough for you? Packed up and in the plane before they go green?

  18. Heads should roll.

  19. I gave it a 3. Need to reserve some room for Monaco.

  20. The superb start from Alonso was the only time during the race I jumped up from my seat.
    I fear for a Red Bull wins only season unless Ver/Per take out eachother like Ham/Ros in Spain 2016. If so, I hope Alonso wins :-)

    1. Oh yeah, 4/10 for me.

  21. This was bad, proper bad. Yes RBR are ahead but that ridiculous SC killed it off. Really, the GPS was saying the car was on the track?? And your eyes then, all these camera’s.. bad decision. Final blow is Alonso’s second penalty. All the time in the world to issue it like with Ocon, but no… It would probably still have been a RBR 1, 2 realistically regardless, but come on man

    1. I believe they thought that was what would be wanted out of them. That’s how pathetic F1 has become regarding its level of caution. It’s nauseating.

  22. Williams vs McLaren was the highlight !

    1. Fighting not to be DFL.

  23. A generous 3/10. I wasn’t bored, it’s just I don’t think I’ve ever had so little interest in a race in all the decades I’ve been watching.

  24. I gave Bahrain a 5 as it was pretty average for the turbo/hybrid era; this one was worse so it gets a 3 from me. The safety car (which I agree was unnecessary) stripped us of any possibility of an interesting second half.

  25. 8 (4%)
    7 (12%)
    6 (19%)
    5 (24%)
    4 (17%)
    3 (9%)
    2 (7%)
    1 (8%)
    Total Voters: 110

    Note: not a single % for the 9 and 10 marks, that’s quite telling! I went with 7, which for once is not one of the most popular choices: 5, 6 and 4 were more voted than it, and the marks from 4 to 7 represented 72% or almost 3\4 of votes, so majority thought this race ranged from bad to decent, no one found it impressive and a significant minority found it terrible!

    I didn’t mind it, there was some action, verstappen made several overtakes but there were only a couple of interesting ones, most were unfortunately drs passes (needs to go), I liked the one hamilton did on sainz, I also thought the SC was unnecessary, as well as the penalty alonso got, so good it was overturned.

    Red bull is way too fast compared to the other teams, while it’s interesting to see the speed differences between ferrari, mercedes and aston.

    1. You mean, just like the previous 200 races where on car has been dominant. Racing is about more than who’s winning, guys….

      There was plenty of action. Yes DRS makes overtakes easy – in particular for the dominant cars; but that’s also been the case for the previous many years – and the car that was just overtaken can now fight back with the same advantage, so the playing field is still level just at a different altitude. Without DRS the only overtakes we would have seen would be LEC and VER or similar cars out of position. Talk about boring…

      The main difference for the last 25 races (last 2 in particular) is the dominance of RBR in stead of Merc. To me that is not a significant difference, just a different ring to the color. The upside is, that the camera focus has broadened :)

      In a sport where hosts, commentators, experts, producers, cameramen etc are predominantly British and on a British site where mostly Brits rate the race, I realize it’s more fun to follow a race where Britons are dominant than Austrians/Dutch – but for the rest of the world (i’m neither Austrian nor Dutch) it’s just more of the usual with a different flavor, actually, so my opinion of the race isn’t influenced by sadness. It was an OK race. Not spectacular, but certainly no more of a bore-fest than usual…

      1. This ended up as a reply to the wrong comment. Sorry @Esploratore1

  26. 1/10. I say this as an Alonso fan despite him finishing third. Absolute garbage.

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