George Russell put on a dominant performance but some terrible luck was in order which handed the race win to Sergio Perez, his and Racing Point’s first in Formula 1.
The race in the outer circuit at Sakhir was Mercedes to lose, and that’s exactly what happened. After, overtaking Valtteri Bottas at the start of the race, George Russell put on a dominant performance pulling ahead of his more experienced teammate temping for the seven-time world champion. But some terrible luck was in order which handed the race win to Sergio Perez, his and Racing Point’s first win in the sport.
Perez who crashed with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the first lap, which resulted in him dropping to P20 and the two retiring came roaring back to win his first race in his 10-year long career. He also becomes the first Mexican in 50 years to win in F1. This was also the Racing Point team’s first race win.
Perez was joined with Esteban Ocon who came in at a career-best P2 for the Renault alongside Lance Stroll in the other Racing Point car in P3. Carlos Sainz Jr came P4 in the McLaren, while Daniel Ricciardo came P5 in the other Renault. Alex Albon came P6 in the lone Red Bull, followed by Daniil Kvyat in the AlphaTauri.
But the real turning point of the race came when Nicholas Latifi retired in the Williams which triggered a safety car. During that period Mercedes decided to double stack Russell and Bottas for the pitstop who were leading at P1 and P2 – but that pitstop was a disaster. On Russell’s car, they put the wrong tyres while on Bottas a mix-up caused them to put back the old tyres which made him uncompetitive and a sitting duck for other cars to pass him.
Unfortunately for Russell, he was forced to pit again and dropped to P5, but started to make ground again and quickly marched to P2, but a puncture forced him to pit again which dropped him down to P15. Russell still raced to finish in a career-best P9 along with the fastest lap of the race, one position behind Bottas who managed P8.
Lando Norris in the other McLaren topped up the points in P10, followed by Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri in P11. Antonio Giovinazzi finished at P12 in the Alfa Romeo ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari who just managed P13 in his penultimate race with the prancing horse. His former teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished P14 in the second Alfa Romeo, followed by Kevin Magnussen in the Haas in P15, with debutants Jack Aitken in the Williams and Pietro Fittipaldi in the Haas coming P16 and P17.
Verstappen, Leclerc and Latifi didn’t finish the race.
1 Sergio Perez Racing Point
2 Esteban Ocon Renault +10.546s
3 Lance Stroll Racing Point +11.869s
4 Carlos Sainz McLaren +12.580s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +13.330s
6 Alex Albon Red Bull +13.842s
7 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri +14.534s
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +15.389s
9 George Russell Mercedes +18.556s
10 Lando Norris McLaren +19.541s
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +20.527s
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing +24.111s
13 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +22.611s
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing +26.153s
15 Kevin Magnussen1 Haas +32.370s
16 Jack Aitken Williams +33.674s
17 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas +36.858s
Did not finish
Nicholas Latifi Racing Point
Max Verstappen Red Bull lap 1 crash
Charles Leclerc Ferrari lap 1 crash