Sakhir GP: Perez wins at Russell’s spectacular debut run 

Racing Point´s Sergio Checo Perez has taken his first Formula One victory after winning the Sakhir GP. The Mexican climbed back to the lead from the eighteenth position to which he fell on the opening lap. 

Behind Perez came Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Renault) for his debut F1 podium. The other driver of the pink team, the Canadian Lance Stroll, completed the positions of honour. McLaren´s Carlos Sainz was left at the doors of glory in fourth. 

The great protagonist and moral winner of the day, however, was George Russell. Lewis Hamilton’s replacement at Mercedes showcased a memorable performance confirming his champion potential. The Briton was on course to win the race with ease until a puncture in the final laps robbed him of the glory he deserved. 

Russell gave a driving masterclass, especially with his breath-taking pass on teammate Bottas. In the end, the young driver from Norfolk finished ninth, behind Bottas. At least, the Englishman has managed to score his first points in Formula One. 

All in all, a very exciting and open race with no less than two safety cars and two virtual safety cars and where Perez has achieved his best result after 190 Grands Prix and ten years competing at the top motor racing category. 

Russell overtakes Bottas at the start 

Russell got the holeshot into turn one, whit a formidable pass on teammate Bottas from the dirty side of the track. Meanwhile, Verstappen engaged in a three-way electric wheel-to-wheel showdown with Leclerc’s Ferrari and Valtteri’s Mercedes. 

A few moments later, Perez was touched by the Leclerc’s Ferrari, ruining both their races and that of Verstappen. Fortunately, all of the drivers came out of the incident unharmed. A safety car was deployed after the collision and stayed on the track until the seventh turn. 

On resuming the race and before the bewildered eyes of fans at home, Russell escaped from Bottas, building a margin of more than two seconds in just three laps. A young man, driving a car in which he could barely fit for the first time, was leading the Sakhir F1 GP with great authority. After both the Mercedes, the only cars in the top of the grid with medium-hard compounds, followed a sensational Sainz. 

This formation continued until the 30th lap when most cars on soft tires went to pit. Both the Mercedes stayed on the track, led by Russell whom by the halfway point of the Sakhir GP, was already three seconds ahead of Bottas. 

The young Brit went to pits on lap 46, four tours before Bottas, both mounting the harder tires. The positions at the top then recovered the natural order. With Russell leading the Finn by eight seconds. The fate of the Sakhir GP was decided on lap 63. The second virtual safety car, which then turned into a safety car on the track, triggered the unexpected entry of both Mercedes into boxes.

Mercedes´ double pit stop: The chaos

The mechanics were unprepared and Russell lost more than five seconds, but still, 5 less than his teammate Bottas. The technicians hesitated with the compounds and made a mistake. They installed Bottas’ tyres in Russell’s car, so the #63 had to go through pits again. 

Shortly after, Russell returned to the garage to change the wrong compounds. What a mistake! After five laps the safety car would abandon the track leaving a new order at the top: Perez, Ocon, Stroll, Bottas, Russell and Sainz. With nine laps to go Russell’s had to finally abandon his dream of victory.

After overtaking three rivals to second, he suffered a puncture on the left rear wheel. Perez was free to cruise to his first victory ahead of Ocon and Stroll, who completed a double podium from Racing Point. 

Images of Checo Perez: Racing Point.


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