Chequered flag for Checo as puncture costs Russell at Sakhir Grand Prix

The Mexican claims a maiden victory - the first for his country since 1970

Sunday, 6th December 2020, 7:04 pm
Updated Sunday, 6th December 2020, 7:20 pm
Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez might be out of the sport as of next week, but he won a stunning Sakhir Grand Prix - the first of his career.

The Mexican was involved in a first lap accident which saw both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc eliminated, but saw him drop to last place.

In a brilliant comeback drive though, aided by Mercedes' poor strategy calls which cost them a victory for either George Russell or Valtteri Bottas, Perez capitalised to claim his and Racing Point's first victory.

George Russell had to battle through the field after a first botched stop by Mercedes

Perez said: "I'm speechless. I hope I'm not dreaming, I've spent many years dreaming of this. Ten years it took me. After the first lap, the race was gone. But I didn't give up, made the best of it I could. We won on merit today, but in the end, our pace was good enough.

"What happens next isn't in my hands, and I want to keep going. If I'm not here in 2021, I'll be here in 2022."

Esteban Ocon brought home the Renault in second, and Lance Stroll completed a sensational day for Racing Point, based in Silverstone, with third.

Ocon said: "I cried on the line, that's how emotional I am. We never stopped pushing, remained motivated.

"To have this podium is the cherry on the cake."

Stroll said: "It's amazing for the team. A part of me is disappointed because I think I could've won, but I didn't have the pace. All in all though, it's unbelievable for the team.

"I'm super happy for Sergio, he's been up there for so long and it's finally come this weekend."

It would be heartbreak for Russell though. Substituting for Lewis Hamilton, who tested positive for covid last week, the Brit led for the majority of the race, he was the victim of a botched pitstop, and then a late puncture as he hunted down Perez, leaving him to finish ninth.

Carlos Sainz was fourth for McLaren, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Alex Albon, Daniil Kvyat, Valtteri Bottas, Russell and Lando Norris.