Sergio Perez’s popular Sakhir victory only piled more pressure onto Red Bull Racing and the under-fire Alex Albon switch drivers in 2021.

Continue reading

I review the action from the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix with freelance journalist Phil Horton.

George Russell takes a phone call in the toilet. Valtteri Bottas’s reputation is in the toilet. This week’s audio quality belongs in the toilet.

At the 190th time of asking, Sergio Perez made himself a grand prix winner with a sensational run from the back of the pack on the first lap to victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The Mexican was in devastating form all evening, his pace only accentuated by his recovery from being punted off the road by Charles Leclerc on the first lap. He made up seven places in five tours early in his recovery and eventually rose to third twice — before and after his sole racing pit stop (excluding his first-lap tyre change while last) — to highlight just how scintillating a drive he was executing.

But such is the state of Formula One that even in such sparkling form he relied on a truly classic Mercedes catastrophe to put him in a winning position.

Continue reading

Sergio Perez has come from last to first for a sensational comeback win and maiden Formula 1 victory after a Mercedes pit stop blunder cost it a comfortable one-two finish.

The Mexican was punted off the road by an errant Charles Leclerc on the first lap as they battled for third. The crash put the Ferrari driver out of the race and clamed Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen as collateral, but Perez was able to continue, albeit in last place after a pit stop to replace his damaged tyres.

But equipped with fresh rubber Perez made mincemeat of the midfield. He made up seven places in five laps and continued his rise back up to third, an easy pass on his own teammate underlining his ferocious personal pace.

Continue reading

Sergio Perez has sensationally won his first Formula 1 grand prix from last on the first lap after a Mercedes pit stop blunder and late puncture cost George Russell a chance to regain the lead of the Sakhir GP.

The Racing Point driver was hit by Charles Leclerc at the start of the race in a crash that took out the Monegasque and Max Verstappen, forcing Perez into a costly first-lap pit stop for fresh tires, but the Mexican made rapid progress in the first half of the race before making just one extra stop to rise to third late in the race.

A podium behind a comfortable Russell-led Mercedes one-two was on the cards, but a late-race safety car conspired to lose Mercedes its double podium and promote Perez into a race-winning position.

Continue reading on RACER 🔗

Formula One is back at the Bahrain International Circuit for the Sakhir Grand Prix, but a different track configuration, short and ultra-fast, promises a different challenge.

Continue reading

Valtteri Bottas has pipped George Russell and Max Verstappen in a three-way fight for pole at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen started the top-10 shootout as favourite with provisional pole, but the super-short circuit lent itself to three runs than the usual two, and Valtteri Bottas duly took back the initiative with his second lap.

But George Russell, standing in for Lewis Hamilton as the world champion recover from COVID-19, was the man making the biggest gains. The Williams driver has been improving session by session during his Mercedes loan and had just 0.142 seconds to close with his final tour to contend for pole.

Continue reading

Valtteri Bottas led a Mercedes front-row lockout at the Sakhir Grand Prix after narrowly beating stand-in teammate George Russell to pole position.

Bottas held provisional pole ahead of the final flying laps but failed to improve with his final effort, leaving himself vulnerable to the improving Russell, who is substituting for Lewis Hamilton this weekend after the world champion contracted COVID-19.

The young Briton started with a 0.142s deficit and set two personal best times in the second to splits, but it wasn’t enough to overturn the disadvantage, falling an agonizing 0.026s short.

Continue reading on RACER 🔗

Max Verstappen usurped Mercedes’s Friday practice control to take a slender advantage into qualifying for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The Dutchman set his best time of 54.064s on his first flying lap on soft tires for the evening, having run on the hard compound until late in the session. It put the Red Bull Racing driver 0.206s ahead of Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas, though the Finn surrendered at least a tenth of a second running wide past the curbs at the final corner of his best lap.

The two most likely rivals for victory this weekend were streets ahead of their teammates. Alex Albon in the second Red Bull Racing car was sixth and 0.565s off the pace, while George Russell — having topped both Friday practice sessions — slipped to seventh and 0.6s adrift in his Mercedes.

Continue reading on RACER 🔗

George Russell swept Friday practice for his new Mercedes team after teammate Valtteri Bottas had several of his fastest laps deleted at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell — substituting for Lewis Hamilton this weekend after the world champion’s positive COVID test — was unable to improve on his FP1 time, but his lap of 54.713s was enough to keep him 0.128s clear at the head of the time sheet.

Bottas was on track to claim top spot with his first lap on the soft tire, but the Finn fell afoul of freshly instituted track limits at Turn 8, set at the outer edge of the curbs at the exit of the right-hander. His quickest time would have beaten Russell’s best by 0.2s before it and two subsequent laps were deleted for driving off the track, leaving him 11th.

Continue reading on RACER 🔗

George Russell ended his debut timed session as a Mercedes driver at the top of the charts at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell, seconded from Williams to deputize for Lewis Hamilton while the world champion recovers from COVID-19, lapped the 2.202-mile ‘outer loop’ configuration of the Bahrain International Circuit in just 52.564s.

The 22-year-old Briton looked immediately at home in the black car. His feedback via team radio was focused mostly on adjusting to the functions and steering wheel controls of his new machine, and his only major problem appeared to be some shoulder discomfort as he squeezed into a cockpit designed for Hamilton, who stands approximately 4.3 inches shorter than his substitute.

Continue reading on RACER 🔗

I preview the upcoming Australian and Bahrain grands prix with last year’s podcast guests Peter Anderson from theredline.com.au and Rodney Gordon from Superlicense F1 Podcast.