F1 Sakhir GP : Sergio Perez takes sensational maiden win in Sakhir GP as tyre issues ruin Russell’s charge

F1 Sakhir GP : Sergio Perez, in his penultimate race for Racing Point and without a drive for next season, took the first win of his Formula 1 career in an extraordinary Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain on Sunday.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll completed the podium and finished second and third respectively. It had initially looked as though George Russell was set to pull off an incredible maiden victory on his first outing for Mercedes, having aced the start to lead pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas for the majority of the Grand Prix. But Mercedes gave Russell the wrong tyres when he was pitted under a Safety Car on Lap 62 of 87, forcing another pit stop to correct the error – while Russell then suffered a puncture that left him P9 at the flag for what was at least his first-ever F1 points finish.

On his 190th F1 start, Perez had been forced to pit at the end of Lap 1, dropping to the last place after getting caught up in a Turn 4 crash that eliminated Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

But an incredible turn of pace from the Mexican allowed him to benefit from Mercedes’ pit error – which also left Valtteri Bottas on old hard tyres, the Finn coming home P8 – to sensationally claim his and Racing Point’s first-ever victory, a week after an MGU-K failure had robbed him of a podium.

After a difficult return to F1, Renault’s Ocon claimed his first-ever podium finish in the sport, with Stroll holding off a charging Carlos Sainz to take his second rostrum of the year, ahead of the McLaren driver and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in P5.

Alex Albon was P6 in the sole surviving Red Bull, ahead of the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat.

The Mercedes pair of Bottas and Russell in their P8 and P9 positions led home the second McLaren of Lando Norris, who took the final point of what was a stunning evening in Sakhir.