The Day After: A victory eight years in the making

Sergio Perez

A result that absolutely no one saw coming, the Sakhir Grand Prix managed to be equal parts heart-warming and heart-breaking.

And with so much digest, I think the best way to tackle it is a round of Medium hits, so let’s get to it.

What a win for Sergio Perez. Was he lucky? Yes. Was it deserved? Absolutely. A victory over eight years in the making, Perez came within one small mistake of winning the very wet 2012 Malaysian GP, and after all the crap that’s been thrown at him over the years – losing his Mclaren drive after just one year, constantly being passed-over for promotions, losing his Racing Point seat for next year, hell, even lap one of this race – it was just nice to see him rewarded. It will be nothing short of a tragedy if he isn’t in F1 next year, not to mention incredible if, of the two F1 race-winners Red Bull could partner with Max Verstappen, they end up opting for neither.

In regards to George Russell, Toto Wolff said it best: a star is born. Were it not for that puncture, he wins the race. Simple as that. Clearly, it’s only a matter of time until he earns a Mercedes seat permanently, and if you thought the speculation over Valtteri Bottas’ job security was bad already, well… it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

Speaking of Bottas, while he clearly didn’t do himself any favours with another rotten start, you have to feel bad for him. Compared to how Sundays usually play out when Lewis Hamilton is in front of him, he was at least keeping Russell honest prior to Mercedes doing their best ‘discount plastic surgeon’ impression and botching his pit stop. I can’t imagine what’s going through his head right now, but I doubt it’s anything positive.

Congratulations to both Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll for their podiums, although it’s hard to know what exactly to make of their performances in such a chaotic race. Over the totality of the season, both remain thoroughly outclassed by their teammates, but neither Ocon nor Stroll are slouches, and have laid down some solid building-blocks for what are still two very young careers.

I’m not the first one to say it, but Charles Leclerc didn’t do his reputation any favours on Sunday. His turn 4 crash with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez may not be the most egregious mistake we’ve ever seen, but it’s a case of a driver failing to balance opportunism with self-preservation, and shows as great a driver as he is already, he still has some areas he needs to improve on.

Very sad to hear Romain Grosjean won’t be returning for one final F1 race in Abu Dhabi, but health obviously comes first. I would assume there will be some gesture from F1 as a remark of respect, and it would definitely be cool to see him given a Mercedes test drive for his swansong.

Driver of the Day: George Russell

Would’ve won the race were the motorsport gods not conspiring against him. Nevertheless, he had one job to do this weekend: cement his candidacy for a Mercedes seat, and he certainly did that.

Worst of the Day: Mercedes’ pit stops

A team that has performed their fair-share of perfectly-executed double-stacks in races past, they got Sunday’s oh-so-very wrong, costing them a guaranteed 1-2. Nobody’s perfect.

Quote of the Day:

“I hope I’m not dreaming, because I’ve dreamed for so many years of being in this moment. Ten years it took me.” – Sergio Perez. No Sergio, you’re not dreaming, and no matter what happens from here-on out, you’ll always be a Formula 1 race winner.