Sergio Perez Scores Maiden Win At 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

Racing Point also scores its maiden double podium finish at an exciting Bahraini night race. 

Sergio Perez has driven his way to his first Formula 1 race win in a thrilling Sakhir Grand Prix. Ending what is possibly the longest race streak without a win for any driver, and capping off too an eventful week within the motorsport. 

In another series of firsts that occurred in this race, Estaban Ocon of Renault nabs his first podium in his Formula 1 career coming home in second place. Lance Stroll meanwhile rounds up the podium places by coming in third. Thereby also granting the Racing Point F1 team its first ever double podium finish in the motorsport. 

The only other Mexican F1 driver to win a grand prix, the chances of Sergio Perez even stepping on the podium on the first few laps were thin on the ground. Especially since he was involved in a first lap collision that took out both Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.

Initially starting 5th on the grid, he soon dropped back to 18th position after pitting to have his front wing changed after the collision on lap 1. A stellar drive from Perez however soon saw him back in the top half of the field midway through this 87 lap race, with the chances of a podium position looking more and more likely with each passing lap. The maiden win though was essentially gifted to the Racing Point driver’s favour on the third quarter of the race, due to an almost comical string of errors committed by reigning constructors champions Mercedes. 

This all started when the safety car was deployed on lap 63 to collect the front wing of the Williams of Jack Aitken, who had spun on the main straight. Perhaps sensing an opportunity to put fresh rubber on both their cars, Mercedes therefore made the call to perform a double-stack pit-stop during this time. However, in a move totally uncharacteristic of the German Formula 1 team, they had managed to botch not one, but the pit-stop for both its drivers in epic fashion. 

In a pit-stop that wasn’t strictly necessary for either driver, not only had they managed to perform a slow tire-change on both occasions, but they also managed to fit a mixed set of tires on George Russell’s car, as well as a used set of hard tires on Valtteri Bottas’ car. This therefore caused Russell, who was incidentally substituting for Lewis Hamilton this weekend due to the current world champion contracting Covid-19 and was leading the race up to that point, to come out in 5th place after his second pit stop on Lap 67. 

Undeterred however, the young Brit did appear to be a man on a mission to score his first win today, and as the safety car went in a lap later, he carved up the field in short order and was back up to second place within the next few laps. Alas, his hopes for a win though was soon dashed though as his Mercedes developed a slow puncture on its left rear tire on lap with 10 laps to go. Forcing him to pit for a forth time this race, and therefore left him to only finish a lowly 9th. 

As for his teammate who was running on a totally uncompetitive used set of hard tires, Bottas came out in fourth position during the end of the safety car session. Over the next 20 odd laps however, he continued to struggle for grip and eventually dropped to 8th place when the chequered flag dropped. 

While many fans of the motorsport were rooting for Russell to win his first GP last weekend, many were still undoubtably happy for Sergio Perez to finally have his chance to savour the top step of the podium. The Mexican driver has had possibly one of his best seasons thus far in this eventful 2020 Formula 1 season, and it is truly a shame that it is not likely for him have a seat on the grid next year. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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