Sergio Perez wins the Sakhir Grand Prix after first lap collision

Sergio Perez has won the Sakhir Grand Prix to take his maiden Formula One win, while Mercedes suffered a chaotic race finishing eighth and ninth.

Departing Racing Point driver Perez, claimed the lead on Lap 63 and never looked back after some calamitous pit stops from Mercedes, with George Russell having to pit twice under the second safety car due to being fitted with Bottas’ tyres at the first stop.

The 30-year-old finished over 10 seconds ahead of second-placed Esteban Ocon, who came home to claim his first podium and his teammate Lance Stroll. This was Racing Point’s first-ever double podium.

Stand in Russell, who took over from the COVID-stricken Lewis Hamilton suffered a late puncture chasing down the Mexican, but battled back to claim ninth, just behind his team-mate Bottas who finished eighth.

The race got off to the perfect start for the 22-year-old Briton as he out-dragged Bottas to the first corner, with the Finn unable to get heat into his rear tyres, leaving him exposed to Verstappen, Perez and Leclerc behind.

However, both the Red Bull and Ferrari were out by the fourth corner, with Leclerc out-braking himself and locking up into the side of Perez’s car, leaving the luckless Verstappen with nowhere to go but a trip to the barriers.

Perez then dropped to 18th and despite picking up a flat-spot, he began to pick up places with relative ease, and took the lead on lap 63 after a blunder by the Mercedes pit crew, the team putting Bottas’ new tyres onto Russell’s car, which left Bottas being sent out on the same set he came in with.

These calamitous stops left the Mercedes pair in fourth and fifth, but with fresh tyres Russell blasted past his team-mate with an audacious move around the outside of turn six and had climbed up to an impressive second, gaining four-tenths a lap on Perez before heartbreakingly picking up a puncture with only eight laps remaining and dropping down the order to 15th place.

But Russell was a man on the mission, desperate to claw back what was a certain win, he powered past six cars in the last seven laps to claim ninth place and his first points in Formula One, along with the fastest lap.

Bottas struggled after the initial restart and on older tyres, was a sitting duck to the chasing pack and wrestled the car home to a disappointing eighth place, just ahead of the unfortunate Russell.

Alex Albon salvaged some points for Red Bull in sixth place, just behind Daniel Ricciardo, making it a very good day in the battle for third place in the constructors for Renault and Racing Point.

While debutants Jack Aitken and Pietro Fittipaldi finished in 16th and 17th respectively for Williams and Haas.

However, Perez drove brilliantly to claim Racing Point’s first-ever win since they were formally called Force India, with the Silverstone based outfit’s last victory coming in 2003.

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