Perez wins the Sakhir GP!

Perez takes the chequered flag! The Mexican claims his first ever victory in F1! Perez is in tears on the team radio! Surely this guy is going to have a seat next season? Ocon finishes second. What a result for him. And Stroll makes it a double Racing Point finish on the podium!
Formula 1
'Mercedes had no grounds for complaint' - Horner
17/12/2021 AT 09:49

87/87 - Final lap!

Russell up into 10th! Well, at least it looks like Russell will pick up his first ever world championship point, moving into P10. Perez is just one lap away from his first ever F1 race victory! Russell has just set the fastest lap, but the stewards are going to look at him for running incorrect tyres.

85/87 - Perez bringing it home!

Perez is just four laps away from clinching his first ever win in F1! Keep in mind that this is a guy who doesn't have a seat for 2021! What a symbolic moment this would be for him! He is bringing it home!

83/87 - Bottas unhappy

"These tyres are terrible," says Bottas on the Mercedes team radio. What a disastrous race for Mercedes. They are usually so tight, but the one race Hamilton misses, this happens.

80/87 - Heartbreaking!

"I don't know what to say," Russell says on the Mercedes team radio. What a shame. Bono tells the youngster to keep his head down. Wise words. Emotions can come after the race.


Oh dear! That is such a shame for Russell! He had the race victory in his sights, but he has picked up a puncture and he has been forced to pit again! He's now out of the points!

77/87 - Bottas falling!

Bottas just has no grip at the moment and there's nothing he can do to stop Sainz, Ricciardo and Albon from passing him! How bad is this man's luck?!

76/87 - Fastest lap!

Russell is the fastest man on track! What a performance this has been, even if he doesn't win this! Russell has just set a new fastest lap! The gap between the 22-year-old and Perez is just over two seconds! 10 laps to go!


AMAZING! Russell gets past Ocon and is up into P2! This feels like the birth of a superstar! Russell now has Perez in his sights! There is a three-second distance between the two!

72/87 - RUSSELL INTO P3!

Russell is on the charge! This is incredible! He is going for it! Russell gets past Stroll! He is back into the podium positions! Now having a look at Ocon! He needs to get past the Renault quickly to catch Perez! These are quick laps!

70/87 - GAME ON! Russell past Bottas!

Russell gets past Bottas! The Finn goes wide and Russell makes the most of the mistake, getting down the inside of his teammate! What a move from Russell! He is still in play here!

68/87 - Racing again!

The Safety Car is in! We are racing again! Stroll very nearly went into the back of Ocon in an attempt to warm up his tyres there! Was was lucky for the Racing Point! Perez leads this race with 20 laps to go!

66/87 - 20 laps to go...

1) Perez 2) Ocon 3) Stroll 4) Bottas 5) Russell 6) Sainz 7) Ricciardo 8) Kvyat 9) Gasly 10) Albon


Real confusion for Mercedes! It's not quite clear what happened there! Did they put the same tyres back on the two drivers?! Russell isn't on new tyres so he's having to come in again! It was a mixed tyre set! Oh dear, oh dear. That has cost Russell the race! Perez is now leading this race!


Terrible, terrible pit stop! Mercedes double-stacked their drivers as the Safety Car was deployed. Russell gets in and out, but then there's an issue with the front left tyre. That has cost Bottas dearly! He has actually lost track position!

62/87 - Virtual Safety Car!

Aitken looks to have lost a front wing and so we are under a Virtual Safety Car! That could actually be beneficial to Russell. A VSC doesn't close up the pack, but gets rid of a few laps. It's starting to feel like Bottas might have the momentum here.

60/87 - Bottas cutting into lead!

Russell had a lead of nearly nine seconds after the pit stops. That advantage has now been cut to just five seconds. Bottas is closing on Russell and there are still 27 laps of this to go! Perez is also a factor here.

57/87 - Perez on the charge!

Perez into the podium places! That was a breeze for the Mexican as he passes Ocon using DRS! He's up into third! Keep in mind that he was running in P18 after a spin on the opening lap! What an exceptional performance this has been!

56/87 - VSC ending!

The Virtual Safety Car pit stop worked well for Norris, but it hasn't worked for Sainz, who pits just as it ends! We are racing again! Perez is into fourth place! That hasn't worked at all for the Spaniard!

55/87 - Yellow flag!

Latifi on the side of the track on turn 8! It looks like we're going to get a Virtual Safety Car here as Latifi runs off the track. Norris takes the opportunity to shift on to a fresh set of tyres. Of course, a Virtual Safety Car is a cheap pit stop. An opportunity.

51/87 - Bottas box, box!

Bottas into the pit! This is it for Mercedes! It's a quick pit stop for the Finn as he moves on to a fresh set of tyres! Bottas comes out... BEHIND RUSSELL! It's comfortable for the 22-year-old from King's Lynn! He has a lead of over eight seconds!

48/87 - Russell recovery!

Whatever the problem was, Russell seems to have resolved it. But how much time did he lose in figuring out the right setting coming out of the pits? That is the question! Bottas has a 16-second lead over Russell. Is that enough to pit and come out in front of his temporary teammate?

47/87 - NO POWER!

"No power," says Russell on the team radio! What's happened there? Is that just some sort of pit lane setting that he has forgotten to take off?!

46/87 - Russell box, box!

Russell into the pits! The youngster comes into the pits. First thing first, he remembers which is the correct garage. He had asked Bono on the Mercedes pit lane to remind him not to enter the wrong garage on the pit lane.

44/87 - Ocon fights off Stroll!

The undercut has worked! Stroll pits after Ocon, but it's too late and the Renault manages to keep the Racing Point at bay and keeps P9! That could be a big development in the fight for a podium finish!

43/87 - Russell strategy

Mercedes have been on the team radio to Russell. Basically, reading between the lines, they don't yet have a gap to re-insert Russell back into the race, so they are keeping him out until one emerges. Russell seems relaxed about that. He is taking it all in his stride!

38/87 - Ocon charge

"Ok, let's try and put some pressure on Stroll," comes the message from the Renault pit lane wall to Ocon. He is running in fourth place at the moment. The young Frenchman is in play for a podium finish, although the Racing Points have some real speed.

37/87 - Tyre trouble?

Bottas has been on the team radio warning that he feels the tyres are now starting to ware. What is the strategy from Mercedes here? We're approaching the midway point of the race and the Silver Arrows have yet to pit either of their two drivers.

35/87 - Weird stat

Here's a peculiar stat for you - Russell has now led more race laps this year than everyone bar Hamilton and Bottas!

32/87 - Impressive

This has been a remarkable first phase of the race from Russell. He has an advantage of close to three seconds over Bottas at the head of the pack. Russell has remained so calm. He knows this is a massive opportunity to show what he can do, but he is handling it so well.

30/87 - Stay off the kerbs!

Both Bottas and Russell have been told over the Mercedes team radio to stay off the kerbs at Turn 8. They must have spotted something there. Something to keep an eye on for the rest of the race.

29/87 - Sainz pits!

Sainz pits from P3! The Spaniard is running well, but he had a close call there as he emerged into the pit lane again. He nearly collided with Gasly! Sainz got away with it and has rejoined the race in ninth.

28/87 - Tyre management

It was assumed that this would be a two-stop race, but a lot of the drivers are doing a good job of managing the tyres. Are conditions making this a bit easier on the rubber? It was super, super sandy for the F2 race earlier in the day.

23/87 - Perez past Albon!

Perez up into the points! The symbolism of that move from the Mexican was quite significant. According to reports, Perez is the driver Red Bull could turn to to replace Albon for 2021. After pitting on the opening lap, Perez is up into P9.

22/87 - Albon past Norris!

Albon up into P9! That was very nice move from Albon on his close friend Norris up into ninth. Perez also gets past Norris, who after a very good start which saw him pick up 10 places on the opening lap has slowed up.

21/87 - Unique configuration

In case you missed it, this is a different configuration from the one that was used for last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix. Must quicker lap times, much more straightline speed. It makes this race a pretty unique one! Not another circuit like this one.

19/87 - Perez in P11

Perez is the only driver to have pitted so far, but the Mexican could still be in line for some good points this evening. He is running in P11 at the moment and is pushing hard on Albon, who is Red Bull's only hope here after what happened to Verstappen.

17/87 - Fastest lap!

Another fastest lap from Russell! The young Brit is really cooking at the head of the pack. It's all going very well for Russell at the moment. He has a lead of over two seconds over Bottas, who is keeping his new teammate honest.

10/87 - 10 laps in

As things stand... 1) Russell 2) Bottas 3) Sainz 4) Ricciardo 5) Kvyat 6) Stroll 7) Gasly 8) Ocon 9) Norris 10) Albon 11) Perez 12) Vettel 13) Magnussen 14) Latifi 15) Giovinazzi 16) Aitken 17) Raikkonen 18) Fittipaldi

8/87 - Russell is cooking!

Hamilton's stand-in is finding some real pace in this Mercedes. Russell has just set the fastest laps... and these are fast laps on this track configuration! We are already seeing lap times of sub-60 seconds!

6/87 - Racing again!

The Safety Car comes in and Russell has got away nicely! Sainz has Bottas under real pressure. He takes the place from the Finn, but Bottas reclaims the place. What a fight that was!

4/87 - Safety Car

It should be noted that we are behind the Safety Car as the marshalls clean up the debris from that Leclerc/Perez/Verstappen incident. Russell has the lead. He's on the Mercedes team radio asking where buttons are on the steering wheel ahead of the restart. New car, eh.

3/87 - Bad luck!

Bottas backed the pack up coming out of Turn 2. That then resulted in a three-way chase down to Turn 3 with Leclerc tagging Perez. He spun and then Verstappen couldn't clear the barrier. His car was in good shape! He just couldn't get out of the gravel trap!

2/87 - Verstappen out! Leclerc out!

As the dust settles, it's clear that it's Leclerc and Verstappen in the barrier. Not entirely sure what happened there. We'll see with the replays. Perez is into the pits after picking up some damage. Norris has picked up 10 places from the start! Incredible!

1/87 - LIGHTS OUT!

RUSSELL TAKES THE LEAD! It's the young Brit who takes the lead into Turn One! There's mayhem further down the pack! Perez looks to have spun! Did he take someone with him? Was that Verstappen?!

17:10 - Formation lap

Ok, here we go. It's time for the formation lap at the Bahrain International Circuit. One wonders how fast Russell's heart is beating right now. Feels like there is a lot of pressure on him here to impress.

17:05 - Anthem time

It’s anthem time at the Bahrain International Circuit. It was very sandy on the track for the FP2 race earlier, which saw Mick Schumacher crowned champion ahead of his move up to F1 with Haas next season. Difficult conditions.

17:00 - Rookies everywhere!

Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of the double world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, makes his F1 debut in place of Grosjean this evening. How will he fare? There’s also an F1 debut for Jack Aitken in place of Russell for Williams. Rookies!

16:55 - Impresive Perez... again

Sergio Perez starts in P5. The Mexican driver is still without a seat for 2021, which is frankly ridiculous given how well he has performed this season. He was a power unit issue away from securing a second successive podium finish last weekend.

16:50 - Verstappen in P3

Further down the grid, Max Verstappen put his Red Bull in P3 with Charles Leclerc getting an excellent performance out of a far from convincing Ferrari, qualifying in P4. He has done so well to get a tune out of that car this season. Look at how Sebastian Vettel has struggled in the same car!

16:45 - One week on

Of course, it’s only a week on from the horrific crash involving Romain Grosjean. It was an incident that shocked the motorsport world. Thankfully, Grosjean escaped with only burns to his hands, but he has now flown home to Switzerland and will not race again this season. And possibly never again in F1. He has already been replaced for 2021 by Haas.

16:40 - Growing pains

Part of the problem with the Mercedes car for Russell is its size. He said it was like trying to squeeze into a “bathtub.’” Indeed, the youngster has a much bigger frame than either Bottas or Hamilton. This is a car designed for a much shorter person. This might actually be pretty painful for Russell!

16:35 - Big opportunity

“Lewis dropped me a message on Friday night wishing me well and asking me to look after his car and so far so good,” Russell said after putting his Mercedes on the front row on Saturday. “It would be amazing to stand on the podium but as a racer you just want to deliver the best performance possible.” His achievement shouldn’t be understated. He only had four hours of practice in the car before qualifying!

16:30 - It's race day!

Good evening and welcome to Eurosport’s LIVE coverage of the Sakhir Grand Prix! We’ll bring you all the action as it happens at the Bahrain International Circuit. Lights out will be at 17:10 GMT.
There’s only one storyline to follow here - Valtteri Bottas v George Russell. With Lewis Hamilton testing positive for Covid-19, Russell has been drafted in to drive for Mercedes this weekend. Russell is a part of the Mercedes young drivers’ programme and has been tipped as a future Silver Arrows driver.
Bottas has suffered a disappointing season. While the Finn’s seat for 2021 is safe, Russell can lay down a marker with a good performance here. He locked out the front row in P2 on Saturday, only just missing out on pole.
Formula 1
Verstappen: 'I don't feel sorry for Hamilton'
17/12/2021 AT 08:47
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
'No assurances' Hamilton will race next season, says Mercedes boss Wolff
16/12/2021 AT 13:13