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Sergio Perez’s historic Formula One win

BOITUMELO RANTAO

SERGIO Perez had the biggest smile of the night, some tears and made history. Mercedes stand-in George Russell was the most unlucky in a dramatic Formula 1 race at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain which the Mexican won comfortably.

Perez, in his penultimate race for Racing Point and probably his last in F1, capitalised on uncharacteristic mistakes by the Mercedes pit team, who caused telling delays to Russell and his teammate for the night, Valterri Bottas. 

Perez registered his first-ever F1 victory and became the first Mexican since Pedro Rodriguez in 1970, to win an F1 race. He is now 4th in the world championship. In the last race, he was on course for a third-place finish when he was forced to retire with engine problems with three laps to go.

“I am speechless. I hope I am not dreaming. Ten years it took me. I don’t know what to say. After the first lap the race was gone but it was about not giving up. I think we won today on merit,” said Perez.

The Mercedes calamitous pit team errors cost Russell the race as he was, until then, leading and on course for his first F1 race. Russell stood in for world champion Lewis Hamilton, who was sidelined by COVID-19.

As if the error was not enough, Russell suffered a puncture, was forced to pit and had to drive like a man possessed to end in the points at 9th. His consolation was winning the fastest 

Bottas, who started the race on pole, paid dearly for the mistake with the tyres and could only manage to finish within the points in 8th. It was the first time this season that Mercedes were not on the podium.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon won his first ever podium and finished second behind Perez.

Renault’s Ricciardo finished 5th, ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon in 6th and AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat in 7th. 

Lance Stroll completed a historic first double podium for Racing Point when he finished 3rd, with some great fortune after starting from 10th, ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in 4th.

McLaren’s Lando Norris finished 10th, completing the points positions.

There was drama in the first lap of the race, after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crashed out of the race. Perez also took some damage as a result of the incident and started lap 2 in 18th place.