Perez to Coulthard: “I’m speechless. I hope I’m 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”
Ocon takes 2nd for his first podium, Stroll makes it a double for Racing point on the podium.
SERGIO PEREZ WINS
Russell up 9th now
This is comfortable for Perez, 10s the gap to Ocon.
He’s out of the points now, what are the chances, he’s done nothing wrong all day.
Russell pits for a puncture! that’s so unlucky
Bottas is really struggling now, he’s now down to 8th now.
George really hunting Perez down now, as he bangs in a fastest lap.
2.3 the gap now
Who said the Mercedes car couldn’t race in traffic, George now up to 2nd.
Russell up to 3rd after nipping down the inside of Stroll into turn 1.
Brilliant from the young Brit
Bottas is holding Russell up, Perez is streaking out in front, 1.5 back to Ocon.
WOW, just wow, Russell takes Bottas round the outside at turn 5 after the Finn goes a tad wide. Fantastic move.
SAFETY CAR ENDING:
Hold on to your butts, this is gonna be fantastic
Pit Crew: “This should be a major tyre advantage”
George: “I f*****g hope so”
Perez leading from Ocon, Stroll, Bottas, and Russell
Mercedes have majorly messed up here, Russell was given a mixed set of tyres and has to pit again, he rejoins in 5th behind Bottas
Mercedes double stack but Bottas has a disaster of a stop as his brakes catch fire and the pit crew mix up his tyres.
Bottas rejoins in 5th
VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR:
Another Williams causes this one, Jack Aitken loses the rear out of the last corner and clips the barrier, subsequently depositing his front wing on the track
Bottas, on fresher rubber than Russell, has cut the gap to the leader to just over 5s.
With 27 laps left this could get spicy.
Stroll locks up under pressure from Perez and the Mexican is up into 4th.
Not content with that he immediately attacks Ocon and is up into the podium positions.
VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR:
Latifi is stranded just after turn 9, cars stream into the pits but the VSC ends just as Sainz comes in and is down to 7th.
Bottas pits from the lead, both on the hard tyres now. The gap is much much bigger now, it was 3s before George pitted, it’s now over 8s
Bit of a scare for Russell as he comes over the radio saying he has no power, a reset of a switch and all seems well again as he bangs in a fastest lap.
There’s that message, Russell told to push, would normally be Hammertime, what can we call George’s call to arms?
The leader pits and comes out in 2nd.
Russell being told he’s being kept out till the traffic in their pit window goes away.
Stroll pits from 3rd and comes back out ahead of Ocon who had pitted the previous lap.
Doesn’t last long as his tyres are not up to temperature yet and Ocon takes the place back.
Russell radioing in saying his tyres are fine, Bottas on the other hand is saying his fronts are starting to go.
Bottas needs to get a move on.
The Mercedes are still out on their starting rubber, they got a message from the pit wall to warn them to stay off the kerb at turn 8 as both have had a lap time deleted for track limits.
Russell currently leading by 2.7s
A lap of firsts there, as Russell laps a car for the first time, and it is Fittipaldi, who is being lapped in F1 for the first time, syncronicity and all that.
Pit stops are starting, it’s a case of how long Russell can hold on to his rubber as he will get priority.
There’s a fair train behind Sainz in 3rd all the way back to 8th.
Ricciardo is struggling to get past the McLaren and push for another podium.
Norris drops to 11th as the other two muscle past after turn 4. Norris pits for fresh rubber.
Perez then takes it round Albon and up to 9th as his recovery drive really starts to take hold.
Norris, Albon, and Perez are having a great scrap over 9th place.
Further back down the order, Norris has found himself up into 9th having started the race from the back of the field. Vettel now out of the points back in 12th
George Russell tells his pit crew to remind him when they want him to push. Really?
Poor Bottas, that’s just rubbing salt in the wounds.
Bottas has fell 2s back from his young upstart teammate. Meanwhile, Albon and Vettel are having a great fight over 10th.
Russell comfortably keeps the lead but Bottas has a scare as Sainz out drags him down the pit straight, but goes wide and hands the place back.
Safety car in this lap, can George keep the lead at the restart?
There goes another mouthwatering fight with Max again.
Perez turned in to Leclerc who was up the inside, breaking Leclerc’s suspension, Max around the outside tries to take evasive action and can’t stop in time across the gravel into the wall.
George Russell leads into turn 1!
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are out, and so is the safety car
Race starts in just under 5 minutes, who’s your shout for the win?
Max Verstappen is once again threatening for the win today, he was by far the fastest driver on the long runs in practice, is it true pace, can Mercedes keep him behind?
For the first time since 2017 the reigning champion will not take the lights today.
It is also the first time in 13 years we will be without Lewis Hamilton on the grid after the champion has been sidelined with Covid19.
Yesterday threw up a fantastically close qualifying with the top three seperated by just 0.056 and George Russell just being pipped to pole by Bottas by 0.026.
If today throws up racing anywhere near as close as yesterday then we are in for a delight in this sub 60-second lap at a modified Sakhir circuit.