The unseen mistake that nearly cost Perez victory in Russell's race
As a calamitous pitstop and a slow puncture denied George Russell a sensational win on his Mercedes debut, Sergio Perez charged from last to end a 50-year wait for a Mexican winner - but it could all have been very different in Sakhir
At the inaugural Sakhir Grand Prix, Formula 1 got a glimpse of what things could look like without Lewis Hamilton. The world champion had been forced out of the race by a positive COVID-19 test, and while that misfortune ended his streak of 265 consecutive grand prix races, it gave the rest of the field a golden chance to shine.
And they took it. The weekend had been set-up as a duel between the new Mercedes line-up, with George Russell going up against Valtteri Bottas. But the pulsating battle between the duo didn't end with one picking up critical momentum for Mercedes' 2022 driver line-up decision. Instead, Sergio Perez and Racing Point came away with victory in what will surely go down as a famous grand prix thriller, which was defined by two starring drives and one calamitous pitstop.
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Formula 1's return to Baku after a year away had thrown up an eventful qualifying marred by four red flags, but the race appeared to be running to a familiar Red Bull vs Mercedes template entering the closing stages. That is, until a dramatic conclusion where victory was snatched away from two drivers, before landing in the lap of Sergio Perez
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