Sakhir GP: Perez takes shock win after Mercedes debacle

Sergio Perez took a stunning win for Racing Point in Formula 1's Sakhir Grand Prix after a calamitous Mercedes pitstop and then a puncture cost long-time leader George Russell.

Sakhir GP: Perez takes shock win after Mercedes debacle
Listen to this article

Esteban Ocon finished second ahead of Lance Stroll, with the Mercedes cars down in eighth and ninth – Valtteri Bottas, also delayed significantly in the pitstop fiasco, in front of Russell.

Perez also faces a post-race investigation over a lap one incident that eliminated Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, in which Perez was spun around and fell to the rear of the field.

At the start, Bottas and Russell launched in unison from the front row, but Bottas was slower in the second phase and Russell pulled alongside, with Max Verstappen having a look in between them.

Russell seized the lead at the apex of Turn 1, with Bottas forced wide and then sliding at the entry for Turn 2, which let Russell run free and bunched the pack up behind.

This ended in contact at Turn 4 – the right from the traditional Bahrain GP layout where the drivers then sweep quickly left to start the outer loop – despite Verstappen braking early behind Bottas and the attacking Perez on the outside.

Bottas locked up but stayed clear in second, as Perez swept into the Turn 4 apex and collided with a locked up Leclerc, who suffered a broken left-front in the contact while the Racing Point was spun around.

Verstappen stayed free of contact but seemed to carry too much speed through the gravel trap beyond Turn 4 and he slid into the barriers and out, with the safety car deployed immediately.

The race resumed at the start of lap seven of 87, with Russell already well clear as he crossed the safety car control line and Bottas under pressure from Carlos Sainz, who had risen to third in the first lap chaos.

Sainz attacked Bottas into Turn 1 and held on around the outside take second, but he slid out of Turn 2 and cut the oncoming Turn 3 kink, which allowed Bottas back to second.

At the end of the first lap back at full speed, Russell had a lead of 1.1s, which he set about extending as the Mercedes drivers were the only ones to run in the low 58s.

This quickly pulled them well clear of Sainz, who headed a train of runners during the opening phase of the race, before Bottas was able to stabilise the gap when it reached 2.4s on lap 17.

Bottas edged back towards Russell as the Mercedes drivers were told they were well over their target for stopping before the Briton was able to extend his lead again approaching one-third distance.

As the rest of the top 10 runners, most of whom had started on softs compared to the mediums on the Black Arrows, stopped, the two leaders were soon lapping backmarkers, which caused the gap between them to fluctuate.

Russell's lead was 3.1s when he came in to change to the hards at the end of lap 45, with Bottas left out for a further four laps.

Despite a scare with a sensor issue, which caused Russell to report "no power" on his out-lap, the significant undercut factor meant Russell's lead ballooned to 8.5s at the end of Bottas's out-lap.

Both Mercedes drivers were then warned about the loads their left-front track rods were taking through the punishing Turns 7/8 chicane, before a virtual safety car was called when Nicholas Latifi pulled over on the inside of Turn 8 and retired due to a suspected oil leak.

Bottas had cut Russell's lead to under five seconds with strong pace on his new hards either side of the VSC, but the race was then turned on its head when a second safety car was called after Jack Aitken spun off at the final corner and wiped the nose off his Williams.

A second VSC was upgraded to the full safety car so the debris could be recovered and Mercedes called its cars in for what turned out to be a calamitous double-stack stop.

After Russell had a slightly slow change he was sent out with a mixed set of mediums and had to be called in again a lap later, while Bottas lost nearly half a minute waiting as the team realised the error and sent him back out on the same hard tyres he had taken at his first stop.

The Mercedes pitstop gaffe meant that Perez, who had pitted for hards before the first VSC has he quickly recovered up the order following his first lap off, led ahead of Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll – as those that had been following Mercedes had come in during the Latifi VSC.

The race restarted again on lap 69, with Perez romping clear as Russell ran behind Bottas before nipping up to P5 when his teammate ran deep at Turn 4 on lap 70, which left Russell with the chance to muscle his way by over the bumps into the chicane.

Russell the quickly dispatched Stroll and Ocon on successive laps shortly afterwards, which left him with a 3.4s gap to close to Perez.

The Briton set a series of fastest laps, but then a left-rear slow puncture forced Mercedes to stop him for a fourth time – for softs – and dropped him out of contention.

Perez had kept up his pace and pulled away from Ocon over the rest of the race and came home to take a sensational first F1 win by 10.5s.

Sainz finished fourth as Bottas's faded badly on his hard tyres, slipping down the just before Russell had to pit for his puncture.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth ahead of Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat, then came the Mercedes cars.

Russell had rejoined from his final stop in P14, but was able to use his softs to scythe back up the order and claim his first F1 points finish.

Lando Norris completed the top 10 ahead of Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel.

Aitken and Pietro Fittipaldi finished their first F1 races in P16 and P17 at the rear of the field.

Cla Driver Chassis Time
1 Mexico Sergio Perez Racing Point -
2 France Esteban Ocon Renault 10.518
3 Canada Lance Stroll Racing Point 11.869
4 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 12.580
5 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Renault 13.330
6 Thailand Alex Albon Red Bull 13.842
7 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 14.534
8 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 15.389
9 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes 18.556
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 19.541
11 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 20.527
12 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 22.611
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 24.111
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 26.153
15 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 32.370
16 United Kingdom Jack Aitken Williams 33.674
17 Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi Haas 36.858
  Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams  
  Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull  
  Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari  
shares
comments

Related video

2020 F1 Sakhir Grand Prix race results
Previous article

2020 F1 Sakhir Grand Prix race results

Next article

Perez says shock Sakhir GP victory was on merit

Perez says shock Sakhir GP victory was on merit
Load comments
The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Prime

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Prime

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but Mark Gallagher believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate.

Formula 1
May 15, 2022
How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Prime

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells Oleg Karpov how close Haas came to the abyss.

Formula 1
May 14, 2022
How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket Prime

How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket

As Formula 1 teams have settled down in understanding the new generation of cars and the way they need to maximise their performance, fresh lessons have emerged. Jonathan Noble investigates how they have brought with them an all-new kind of grand prix racing

Formula 1
May 12, 2022
Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives Prime

Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives

Formula 1 lost one of its brightest stars when Gilles Villeneuve was killed during practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Forty years on, Motorsport.com picks out the greatest drives by a Ferrari legend

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat Prime

The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat

OPINION: Much was made of Formula 1’s first Miami Grand Prix – what turned out to be a very ‘marmite’ event for both those in attendance and everyone following on TV. But even as the on-track battle between Red Bull and Ferrari it produced continued the negative run of results for the red team, it contained a glimmer it must hope continues to shine

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge Prime

How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge

OPINION: Despite all of the stylistic embellishments festooning Formula 1's inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Miami International Autodrome offered the drivers a unique challenge and punished driver errors; a stark contrast to the usual cast of modern-day circuits

Formula 1
May 10, 2022
Why F1’s turbulent relationship with Russia is nothing new Prime

Why F1’s turbulent relationship with Russia is nothing new

Russia’s involvement in Formula 1 has been big on promise but short on delivery – then reached the end of the road prematurely. MARK GALLAGHER investigates why

Formula 1
May 10, 2022