Sakhir GP 2020
DECEMBER 6, 2020
Race Notes - Perez wins Sakhir Grand Prix
By Mark Karp
Sergio Perez won the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain in his Racing Point-Mercedes, 10.518 seconds ahead of Esteban Ocon in the Renault. Lance Stroll in the seconds Racing Point was third on the podium, 11.869 seconds behind the winner.
After George Russell dominated for most of the race, a late race botched pit stop for both Mercedes drivers during a Safety car lost the race for the dominant world championship constructor.
Perez is the first Mexican winner since the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix. It is the first win for Racing point team, and the team’s first double podium. Perez’s first win came on his 190th start.
Ocon’s second place finish is his career first podium.
Carlos Sainz (12.580s) in the McLaren-Renault was fourth, followed by Daniel Ricciardo (13.330s) in the second Renault was fifth, Alex Albon (13.842s) in the Red Bull-Honda was sixth, Daniil Kvyat (14.534s) in the AlphaTauri-Honda was seventh, Valtteri Bottas (15.385s) in the Mercedes GP was eighth, George Russell (18.556s) in the Mercedes scored his first points finish in ninth, and Lando Norris (19.541s) in the McLaren was in tenth place.
Before the start, Bottas was on pole, with his Mercedes GP team mate Russell alongside on the front row, Verstappen in the Red Bull was third with Leclerc in the Ferrari on row 2, Perez and Kvyat on row 3, Ricciardo and Sainz on row 4 and Gasly and Stroll rounding out the top top.
The two Mercedes starting on medium tyres, the rest of the top ten starting on soft tyres.
A two-stop strategy expected to be the fastest, the first pit stops expected between lap 32-35.
At 10-after the hour the grid came around, the lights went off and the race began with Russell coming down the inside to take the lead over Bottas. Raikkonen spins at the second corner. At turn 4 Perez turns in and comes together with Leclerc - Verstappen goes wide to avoid, gets on the gravel and hits the barrier, Verstappen and Leclerc are out on the first lap - the Safety car is out.
Behind the Safety car Russell, leads Bottas, Sainz, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Stroll, Gasly, Ocon, Vettel and Norris is tenth. Perez runs last
At the end of lap 5 the race resumed with Russell leading over Bottas. Sainz battles with Bottas.
Norris passes Vettel for ninth place.
At lap 8 Russell leadsBottas by 1.5 seconds.
Vettel battles with Albon. Albon complains to the team, “we are so slow on the straights”.
Perez passes Vettel for 11th.
At lap 15 Russell leads Bottas by 2.2 seconds, followed by Sainz (6.rs), Ricciardo (7.3s), Kvyat (8.2s), Stroll (9.3s), Gasly (10.4s), Ocon (12.5s), Norris (14.1s) and Albon (15.0s) in tenth.
On lap 17 Bottas sets fast lap at 0:57.978s.
Norris, Albon and Perez battling over ninth place, Albon and Perez get past in one corner - Norris pits
The next lap Perez passes Albon for ninth.
At lap 25 Russell leads Bottas by 2.1 seconds, followed by Sainz (13.9s), Ricciardo (16.3s), Kvyat (18.3s), Stroll (19.2s), Gasly (20.2s), Ocon (21.8s), Perez (23.5) and Albon (25.0s) in tenth.
On lap 27 Kvyat pits and rejoins in 11th.
The next lap Sainz and Gasly pit - Sainz rejoins in ninthm Gasly in 11th.
On lap 30 Ricciardo pits for medium tyres and rejoins tenth.
On lap 30 Kvyat sets fast lap at 0:57.580s.
Russell leads Bottas, Stroll, Ocom and Perez.
On lap 32 Vettel pits, Aitken and Fittipaldi pit as well.
Tyre wear is better than expected and the Mercedes yet to pit yet.
Bottas says his front tyres are starting to go off.
Renault tells Ocon to put pressure on Stroll in third place.
At lap 40 Russell continues to lead Bottas by 2.7 seconds, followed by Stroll (25.7s), Ocon (27.5s), Perez (29.2s), Albon (32.5s), Sainz (37.0s), Kvyat (39.3s), Ricciardo (40.0s) and Gasly (43.4s) in tenth.
On lap 41 Ocon pits from fourth for hard tyres and rejoins in tenth place.
The next lap Stroll pits from third for medium tyres and rejoins in ninth - Ocon passes Stroll in the first corner for ninth place.
On lap 44 Ocon sets fast lap with 0:56.392s.
On lap 45 Russell pits for hard tyres and rejoins in second behind Bottas.
On lap 47 Russell sets fast lap at 0:56.644s.
Perez and Albon both pit, Perez rejoins ninth, Albon 11th.
On lap 49 Bottas pits for hard tyres as well, and rejoins second.
At lap 50 Russell leads Bottas by 8.3 seconds, followed by Sainz (19.2s), Kvyat (21.6s), Ricciardo (23.5s), Gasly (27.5s), Ocon (28.7s), Stroll (29.7s), Perez (32.5s), and Norris ( 39.7s) in tenth.
Gasly pits from sixth for his second pit stop for hard tyres, and he rejoins in 12th.
Russell complains to the team that “the power on the straight is low.”
On lap 53 Kvyat pits from fourth for hard tyres and rejons in tenth.
On lap 55 Latifi has pulled off the side of the track - the Virtual Safety car is out. Norris, Vettel, Giovinazzi, Magnussen, Aitke, Raikkonen, Sainz and Ricciardo all pit.
The Virtual Safety car is finished - Stroll locks up and Perez ppasses for fourth. The next lap Perez passes Ocon for third.
On lap 59 Bottas sets fast lap at 0:56.613s, and again the next lap with 0:56.513s.
Stroll is catching Ocon in fourth.
On lap 61 Aitken pits with a missing front wing amd the Virtual Safety car is out to clean the debris.
At lap 62 the full Safety car is out,Russell pits, Bottas double stacks inn the pits - there is trouble with Bottas front left, the brakes are on fire.
Russell has to pit again, as he has a mixed set of tyres - it turns out Mercedes saw the mixmatch for Bottas, and put back on the tyres he was already running on and sent him back out on the same hard tyres.
Behind the Safety car Perez leads Ocon, Stroll, Bottas, Russell, Sainz, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Gasly and Albon in tenth place.
The Safety car lets the lapped runners through.
At the end of lap 68 the Safety car is in, and the race resumes with Perez keading Ocon, Stroll, Bottas and Russell.
On lap 70 Russell passes Bottas for fourth place.
On lap 72 Russell passes Stroll into the first corner for third place.
On lap 73 Russell passes Ocon for second at turn 4.
On lap 73 Russeel sets fast lap at 0:56.514s - he trails Perez by 3.2s with 13 laps remaining.
On lap 74 Russell sets another fast lap at 0:56.393s.
At lap 75 Perez leads Russell by 2.8s, followed by Ocon (5.6s), Stroll (7.2s), Bottas (7.6s), Sainz (8.7s), Ricciardo (10.0s), Albon (10.6s), Kvyat (11.5s) and Gasly (13.9s) in tenth place.
On lap 77 Sainz passes Bottas foor fifth, Ricciardo, Albon and Kvyat passes as well.
On lap 79 Russell has a puntured tyre and pits from second for soft tyres - he rejoins 14th.
At lapp 80 Perez leads Ocon by 8.6 seconds, followed by Stroll (10.1s), Sainz (11.2s), Ricciardo (12.1s), Albon (12.8s), Kvyat (13.2s), Bottas (14.6s), Gasly (16.4s) and Norris (17.7s) in tenth.
Russell passes Vettel for 11th.
On lap 86 Russell passes Norris to get back in the points.
At the finish Perez wins over Ocon and Stroll.