Sergio Perez takes first F1 win at chaotic Sakhir Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez took full advantage of his rivals’ misfortunes on Sunday as he battled from last position to claim his first Formula One victory in a chaotic Sakhir Grand Prix.

COULD BE OUT OF WORK NEXT SEASON

Racing Point’s Perez could be out of work next season but recovered from a first-lap crash in Bahrain that dropped him to the back of the field to earn his maiden win in his 190th race.

The 30-year-old was helped by a shock Mercedes pit-stop tyre bungle and then a late puncture for stand-in star George Russell, who dazzled as substitute for world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Perez became the first Mexican victor in F1 since Pedro Rodriguez in 1970, ending a series of races dominated by Mercedes for whom Valtteri Bottas finished eighth and Russell ninth.

“I’m speechless,” said an emotional Perez, who wept through most of his victory lap after taking the flag.

“I hope I’m not dreaming… Ten years it has took me and I don’t know what to say.

“After that first lap, the race was gone – but I didn’t give up. In the end, my pace was good enough to hold off George.”

Perez is being released by Racing Point at the end of this season to be replaced by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, with the team to be rebranded as Aston Martin.

He is currently without a 2021 race seat, but he is in contention to replace Alexander Albon at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, who crashed out on the opening lap of a dramatic race along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

HAMILTON ABSENT AFTER CONTRACTING COVID-19

Perez’s win came after four consecutive victories by Hamilton, who was absent after contracting coronavirus.

He came home ahead of Esteban Ocon of Renault, who claimed his first podium finish, and his Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll.

“I have no words. I cried on the line, that’s how much emotion there was inside,” said Ocon. 

“It’s been a tough season, but we never stopped pushing. When there are less and less people believing in you, you have to believe in yourself.”

Stroll said: “An amazing result for the team – a part of me is a little disappointed because I could have won, but it’s a great result and just what we needed for the championship.”

Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz was fourth for McLaren ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the second Renault and Albon.

Daniil Kvyat was seventh for Alpha Tauri ahead of the two ‘black arrows’, Russell at least claiming his first two points in F1 after leading for most of the race before their pit-stop downfall.

Lando Norris, who started at the back of the grid, finished 10th for McLaren.

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
111Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES871:31:15.11425
231Esteban OconRENAULT87+10.518s18
318Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES87+11.869s15
455Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT87+12.580s12
53Daniel RicciardoRENAULT87+13.330s10
623Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA87+13.842s8
726Daniil KvyatALPHATAURI HONDA87+14.534s6
877Valtteri BottasMERCEDES87+15.389s4
963George RussellMERCEDES87+18.556s3
104Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT87+19.541s1
1110Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA87+20.527s0
125Sebastian VettelFERRARI87+22.611s0
1399Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI87+24.111s0
147Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI87+26.153s0
1520Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI87+32.370s0
1689Jack AitkenWILLIAMS MERCEDES87+33.674s0
1751Pietro FittipaldiHAAS FERRARI87+36.858s0
NC6Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES52DNF0
NC33Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA0DNF0
NC16Charles LeclercFERRARI0DNF0

* Provisional results. Note – Russell scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.

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