Formula 1 is a dying sport

Perez wins turbulent Bahrain Formula 1 GP

Sensational winner Sergio Perez grabbed his head, stumbled in disbelief through the blindingly bright night of Bahrain and tried to understand this race. At the same time, heads were also smoking at Mercedes, the analysis was in full swing - because the industry leader had thrown away a sure victory for George Russell with memorable mistakes. Lewis Hamilton's substitute finished only ninth despite a great performance.

The 22-year-old Russell seemed on the way to a sensational victory for a long time after he had taken the lead from Pole Bottas at the start and had been in the lead for most of the 87-lap race. But then shortly before the end during a safety car phase, Mercedes completely screwed up a tire change that was only intended as a safety stop, swapping the tires at Russell and Bottas. Russell started a race to catch up to second place, but a "flat tire" finally put an end to his hopes for victory.

drama

A week after the fire inferno in Romain Grosjean's accident in Bahrain, there was another crazy and dramatic Grand Prix during the race on the this time short "Outer Circuit" - but this time with three outsiders on the podium in the end. While 30-year-old Perez celebrated his first GP victory in the 190th race - never before has a driver in the premier class taken so long - Renault driver Esteban Ocon made it onto the podium for the first time. Perez 'team mate Lance Stroll came in third, which, thanks to two cars on the podium, was especially happy for Andreas Wei├čenbacher from the Austrian main sponsor BWT.

Russell, who was on duty for world champion Lewis Hamilton, who was suffering from Covid, initially continued his sensational performance, which was already shown in qualifying, with a spotless start under floodlights, and immediately took the lead from pole man Bottas in turn one. Three turns later there were sparks and fire again when Charles Leclerc's Ferrari and Perez's car touched. Max Verstappen crashed into the wall with his Red Bull while trying to evade and fell out. Leclerc has been fined for his accident after the race. The Monegasse has to start three places behind in the season finale in Abu Dhabi in a week.

dreams

Perez was able to continue the short-distance chase over 87 laps after a pit stop. The Mexican fought his way up successively from 18th and last place and was then the big profiteer in the end. "I think I'm dreaming," the second Mexican Grand Prix winner since Pedro Rodriguez in 1967 and the 110th in Formula 1 history was initially stunned. This surprise coup could result in a cockpit for the Mexican, who is still without a team in 2021. One possibility would be Red Bull.

After the early caution, Russell also restarted in the style of a world champion and then had little trouble hanging out in the car of the seven-time champion Hamilton Bottas. The Finn soon had a comfortable lead over Carlos Sainz. And that although both Mercedes were on the road with the slower yellow medium tires. This allowed Russell and Bottas to stay longer on the track and stretched the first stint up to the 46th lap and pitted for what was supposedly the only time.

scare

Then Russell was briefly startled by a sensor error message about an alleged loss of performance. In the end, however, it was human error that deprived the young driver of his first GP victory. Because in a new safety car phase, with a clear Mercedes lead, both cars were brought into the pits and everything was screwed up because the tires of the two drivers were mixed up and incorrectly fitted. Russell had to pit again to clean up his "mixed" tire set.

The Briton then grabbed Bottas, Stroll and Ocon one after the other and, thanks to the fastest race lap, came within three seconds of Perez. A happy ending was ultimately denied to him because of the puncture in the finish on the left rear. He kept the points for ninth place and the fastest race lap and was spared disqualification. Because the tire faux pas was immediately corrected by further pit stops by both drivers, the team was left with a fine of 20,000 euros.

Under normal circumstances, Russell would have threatened a penalty up to disqualification. But it is the first time that a rule break has occurred in this form, it said in the judgment of the racing stewarts. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff didn't mince his words after Sakhir's "tire gate". "That was one of the most colossal fuck-ups we've ever had," the Austrian annoyed on Sky.

Explanation

Wolff also provided an explanation. "The right side didn't hear the radio message. And so the wrong tire was outside for the wrong car. That mustn't happen, but it also happens to our team. And that shows that people are at work." Wolff explained why they had made this additional stop by stating that they had not yet had a sufficient lead.

About 20 laps before the end, the Mercedes crew had erroneously fitted the front tires that were intended for Bottas to the leading Briton's car. The trigger was that Russell's team could not understand the information over the radio that their driver was about to pit before Bottas because the driver was talking on the radio himself.

The Stewarts justified their judgment because of the further course of action at Mercedes. "One little mistake changed everything today," said the deprived Russell. The 22-year-old Williams driver had come to the team instead of the Covid-19 sick world champion Lewis Hamilton and would have won immediately without the bad luck.

The bird

With Sergio Perez, however, all luck came back. A week ago he was third in Bahrain shortly before the end. This time he landed his first victory, although he had dropped back to the bottom of the field after the collision on the starting lap. (APA, sid, red, December 6th, 2020)

Final score of the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Sakhir on Sunday in Bahrain (87 laps) as well as the World Championship ratings:

1. Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point 1: 31: 15.114 (average: 203.074 km / h)
2. Esteban Ocon (FRA) Renault +10,518
3. Lance Stroll (CAN) Racing Point +11,869
4. Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP) McLaren +12,580
5. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Renault +13.330
6. Alexander Albon (THA) Red Bull +13,842
7. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) AlphaTauri +14,534
8. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes +15.389
9. George Russell (GBR) Mercedes +18,556
10. Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren +19,541
11. Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri +20,527
12. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari +22.611
13. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Alfa Romeo +24.111
14. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Alfa Romeo +26.153
15. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas +32,370
16. Jack Aitken (GBR) Williams +33,674
17. Pietro Fittipaldi (BRA) Haas +36.858

Eliminated: Nicholas Latifi (CAN) Williams, Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull

Fastest lap: George Russell (GBR) Williams on the 80th lap in 55,404 (average: 230.210 km / h)

World Cup booth (after 16 of 17 races):

1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 332
2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes 205
3rd Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull 189
4th Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point 125
5. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Renault 112
6. Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari 98
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP) McLaren 97
8. Alexander Albon (THA) Red Bull 93
9. Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren 87
10. Lance Stroll (CAN) Racing Point 74
11. Pierre Gasly (FRA) AlphaTauri 71
12. Esteban Ocon (FRA) Renault 60
13th Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari 33
14. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) AlphaTauri 32
15.Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Racing Point 10
16. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Alfa Romeo 4
17. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Alfa Romeo 4
18. George Russell (GBR) Williams 3
19. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas 2
20. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas 1

Status of the constructors' championship (after 16 of 17 races):

1. Mercedes 537
2. Red Bull 282
3rd Racing Point 194
4. McLaren 184
5. Renault 172
6. Ferrari 131
7. AlphaTauri 103
8. Alfa Romeo 8
9. Haas 3
10. Williams 3

Next race: United Arab Emirates UAE Grand Prix on December 13th at Yas Marina Circuit

Note: Racing Point was deducted 15 points because of a rule violation in the constructors' championship.