PEREZ TAKES FIRST WIN IN SAKHIR TO BECOME 110TH DIFFERENT WINNER IN F1
Sergio Perez (Racing Point) has become the 110th different winner in Formula One and the first Mexican driver to win a race since the 1970's. In an incredible race at the Sakhir Grand Prix or the outer track of Bahrain. Esteban Ocon (Renault) takes his first podium in F1 after finishing second after having a previous career best of fifth place and Lance Stroll takes home third for Racing Point for a second time this season.
The drama started from the first lap with Max Verstappen (Red Bull) making contact with the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc taking both of them out of the race - Perez was involved in that accident and pitted on lap one and was 18th come lap two. This caused a full course Safety Car to be deployed which ended on lap six.
By lap 28 drivers began making their stops on lap 46 George Russell pits from the lead and three laps later Valtteri Bottas pits from the inherited lead. Bottas was the last driver to pit for his first stop. Just a few laps later on lap 53 Latifi in the Williams has to pull over due to an issue. This causes a Virtual Safety Car so the Williams can be retrieved from the track. Lap 56 the VSC ends.
The drama didn't stop there when on lap 61 Russell's stand in F2 driver Jack Aitken gets a wobble on the exit of the final corner and drifts into the barrier cutting off his front wing and he British driver was lucky not to lose a wheel or two. This deploys the second VSC. After two laps the full Safety Car is deployed and Mercedes try to take advantage by double stacking with Russell leading and Bottas second - but Russell is sent out in good time but with the wrong tires and Bottas is stranded in the pits with a 27 second pit - the Mercedes crew then realise what they have done and Russell is forced to pit immediately to avoid a penalty - giving Perez the lead of the race. On lap 68 the Safety Car comes in.
Bottas struggled towards the end of the race and on lap 77 is shows when the Finn is passed by Albon (Red Bull), Sainz (McLaren) and Ricciardo in the Renault.
His Mercedes debut wasn't what Russell had hoped for as on lap 79 he he forced to pit for a third time after getting a rear right puncture - he exits the pits in 15th place and manages to fight to finish in ninth one place behind Bottas in eighth - not the way Russell thought he would score his first F1 points - Russell also took the extra point for the fastest lap.
The next race is the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.