Perez breaks Webber’s record with 190-race wait for first win

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix stats and facts

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Sergio Perez set a new record by winning the Sakhir Grand Prix, having waited longer for his first victory than anyone in the history of the world championship.

The Racing Point driver’s first win came in his 190th start. He has taken the record from Mark Webber, who took his first win with Red Bull at the 2009 European Grand Prix, his 130th start. Perez is the seventh driver to log a century of starts before winning, joining Rubens Barrichello (124), Jarno Trulli (117), Jenson Button (113), Nico Rosberg (111) and Giancarlo Fisichella (110).

That maiden victory for Fisichella in the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix was the last for the team we now know as Racing Point. It was the last win for Jordan, which subsequently became Midland, then Spyker, then Force India, and took on its current name at the beginning of last year.

It will rebrand again as Aston Martin for the 2021 F1 season. But with Perez out of the team after this weekend’s race, and without a contract for next year, he may have just scored his first win in his penultimate grand prix.

Perez is the second different driver to score their first victory this year, joining Pierre Gasly who triumphed at Monza. This is the first time we’ve had more than one new winner in a season since 2012, when Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado achieved their maiden wins.

Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Pietro Fittipaldi and Jack Aitken made their F1 debuts
There are now 110 different drivers to have won rounds of the world championship. Perez is the second race winner from Mexico. He joins two-times race winner Pedro Rodriguez, whose final victory came 50 years ago in F1’s last race on the original Spa-Francorchamps, in a BRM.

Rodriguez died the following year in a sportscar crash at the Norisring. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is named after him and his brother Ricardo, who also raced in F1 for Ferrari, but was killed in a non-championship race at the Mexican track in 1962.

Another F1 racing family expanded last weekend. Pietro Fittipaldi became the fourth Fittipaldi to start a grand prix. As well as his famed, twice-champions grandfather Emerson, his great-great uncle Wilson and great-uncle Christian have also raced in F1. Max Papis, Emerson’s son-in-law, is another ex-F1-racing relative of Pietro’s.

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You have to go back to when Emerson Fittipaldi won his final world championship, in 1974, for the last time F1 raced on a circuit with a lap time as short as Bahrain Outer. Niki Lauda’s pole position for that year’s French Grand Prix at Dijon, at a time of 58.79 seconds, held the record for the shortest officially-timed F1 lap.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Bottas beat the simulations in qualifying
That record now belongs to Valtteri Bottas, who took pole position with a lap of 53.377 seconds. That was half a second quicker than F1’s simulations predicted would be possible with three DRS zones, and only two were used. It was the 16th pole of his career, giving him as many as Stirling Moss and Felipe Massa.

Bottas ended George Russell’s streak of never being out-qualified by a team mate. He had emerged ahead in all of his 36 previous F1 appearances alongside Robert Kubica (2019) and Nicholas Latifi (2020).

Russell led an impressive 59 laps on Sunday. He has therefore led more laps this year than any other drivers besides the other two to have sat in a Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton (613) and Bottas (188). He also scored the first three points of his F1 career, though surely deserved much more.

Ocon scored Renault’s best finish for 10 years
Esteban Ocon was among those who benefitted from Russell’s misfortune, grabbing the first podium of his career with second place. This was also Renault’s best finish since Kubica finished second in the 2010 Australian Grand Prix.

At 87 laps, this was the longest race in terms of lap count since the 1973 season-opener in Argentina, held on January 28th at the Buenos Aires circuit. This was the second and final time this particular shortened, 3.345km version of the usual track was used, and the race ran for 96 laps.

Finally, despite having missed the penultimate race of the year, Hamilton is guaranteed to finish the year with a high points total than any of Mercedes’ rival teams.

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

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2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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65 comments on “Perez breaks Webber’s record with 190-race wait for first win”

  1. Just like when the last Mexican won a GP, this circuit layout will likely never be raced again.

    Spa 1970

  2. The top three drivers share two things in common: They have something to do with RP/FI and have collided with Max on track. Also, the second time this season without any previous race winners on a podium after Monza.

    Driver #63 had his fateful pit stop (the one immediately after SC came out) on lap 63.

    The two race debutants finished as the lowest-placed drivers at the chequered flag. I specifically predicted P. Fittipaldi to finish as the last.

    I also inadvertently predicted Bottas’ yet another poor-ish start phase that allowed his temporary teammate Russell to become a driver who’s led more laps in the 2020 season than anyone other than the regular Mercedes drivers.

    Racing Point became the 36th distinct constructor to win a Grand Prix.

    Sergio Perez had only led two laps in the previous six seasons of F1 until yesterday.

    Esteban Ocon is the 23rd French driver to finish in the top three in F1.

  3. Mentioned this the other day, but I *think* this was the first Grand Prix since Italy 2001, other than a season opener, where more than one driver made their debut at the same race.

    In that race, Alex Yoong made his first start for Minardi and Tomas Enge for Prost.

    1. Yes you are right, and you got there before me!

    2. @red-andy @f1frog What’s really incredible is that only one driver made their debut in this year’s season opener (Latifi). That wasn’t the case in 2001, when Raikkonen, Alonso, Montoya and Bernoldi all debuted in Australia. Is there any precedent for a race later in the season having more debutants than the actual season opener?

      1. @racer Almost certainly in the years where the Indy 500 was a World Championship race, but not sure if it’s happened other than that.

      2. DNQs affected it back then but in 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix two drivers had their first start (Herbert and Grouillard) while in French Grand Prix there was five (Gachot, Donnelly, Bernard, Alesi and Pirro).

        However in terms of first entry, opening race had five (Foitek, Gachot and J.Winkelhock failed to qualify) and French GP had four.

  4. Jonathan Parkin
    7th December 2020, 18:24

    Racing Point though became a new team when the 2018 Belgium GP. The team we knew as Jordan ceased to be because Lawrence Stroll couldn’t buy the entry. Sadly this was five days before the 20th anniversary of the teams first win at Belgium in 98

    Racing Point therefore took 46 starts to get a win, as opposed to 126 for Jordan

  5. I have got a few stats from yesterday’s race:

    As the article mentioned, Pietro Fittipaldi was the fourth Fittipaldi to race in F1. This equals the record for the most drivers with the same surname with the four Taylors (John, Mike, Trevor and Henry). However, the four Fittipaldis were all related to each other, whereas the Taylors were not. They actually all raced at roughly the same time. Maybe Enzo Fittipaldi will be the fifth Fittipaldi and take that record fully.

    Pietro Fittipaldi and Jack Aitken both made their debuts at the Sakhir GP. This is the first time that there have been multiple debutants at the same Grand Prix since Australia 2019 (Albon, Norris and Russell), but the first time that this has happened not at the first race of the season since Italy 2001 (Tomas Enge and Alex Yoong).

    With Esteban Ocon securing his first podium in Formula 1, there are now only three drivers out of the main twenty from this season yet to score a podium finish in their careers: Russell, Giovinazzi and Latifi. (I was expecting to use this one with Russell getting on the podium, and Ocon being part of the three who haven’t got one yet!)

    1. With Esteban Ocon securing his first podium in Formula 1, there are now only three drivers out of the main twenty from this season yet to score a podium finish in their careers: Russell, Giovinazzi and Latifi. (I was expecting to use this one with Russell getting on the podium, and Ocon being part of the three who haven’t got one yet!)

      That’s a tremendous stat – shows the high quality of the current grid. Sure there are pay drivers but they’re pretty damn good!

    2. That is a really good one!

  6. If Red Bull doesn’t give Sergio a drive, it will loose all my respect as a team.
    I was pulling for Albon from the start, but unfortunately, he is not ready for that team…
    Perez will bring the points they need when Max screws up… Unless he’s afraid of having a real complete full driver as teammate… (?)

    1. I think Red Bull will offer Perez a seat. When it comes to capitalizing on other teams’ bad decisions / indecisions, they have shown themselves to be witty and quick on their feet. Case in point – 1) Mercedes hesitated in giving Verstappen an F1 seat and Red Bull nixed him; 2) Mclaren decided to let go of Honda engines and money and Red Bull happily swooped in to get both.

      I hope Red Bull give Checo the seat. It is a win-win for both

      1. Mercedes hesitated in giving Verstappen an F1 seat and Red Bull nixed him;

        Not really true, Mercedes did not want to give him an F1 seat. And Verstappen’s management did not want to run the risk of doing another year in a junior category if the could get an F1 seat immediately.

    2. The way I look at RB is this:

      There are 2 scenarios at RB with a new teammate (whether Hulk o Perez):
      1 -RB has equal drivers, where both have the same status and are free to dispute positions (within some limits). Perez/Hulk help a lot to develop the car.
      2 -Max will be the P1 always, so the car is developed around him (as it has been since he has been there).

      First I think that Perez is a faster driver than Hulkenberg. And that Max is faster than both. But I think that Hulk should be better at developing the car.

      In case 1, Perez should help more to bring constructors title to RB at the expense of putting a lot of pressure over Max that wants (maybe needs) to be THE PILOT. Max probably would win more races and even make more points, but would feel more uneasy.

      In case 2, Hulk would be better. Probably Max would have a better car and a teammate that puts less pressure on him. This is the best chance of a title for Max.

      For us, op 1 would be better. An open drivers championship with 3 (Ham, Perez and Max) pilots with chances. But I think that for what Horner wants, 2 would be more likely. Max has been Horner’s little guy, and was his dream to make Max the youngest champion ever.

      Next year will the proably the best chance for RB. Mercedes w/o DAS will lose some ground (they’ve been working at their car since mid 2020, and they should still be ahead). The right teammate will give them the chance to be the constructors champion. Or pilots champion. Maybe both. I just don’t think it’s very likely that any of these will be true with Albon, specially as RB has been “Max’s car and plus another driver”.

      1. “2 -Max will be the P1 always, so the car is developed around him (as it has been since he has been there).”

        I’m sure it is to a degree like any team would. Mercedes wouldn’t design a car to suit Bottas would they?

        But Verstappen jumped into a Red Bull and won in his debut race. He’s always had speed.

        1. Yes, sure!
          Mercedes has Bottas that is a decent driver that brings podiums and lots of points home but doesn’t make Hammilton uneasy. Bottas is the perfect driver for this Hammilton Mercedes. I don’t think we will ever see him champion (even if Hammilton didn’t sign up and they don’t get Russel).
          Ferrari even dropped Vettel to be sure to concentrate on Leclerc (poor Sainz… New Barrichelo maybe)
          RB had Riccardo, but I think the way they treated him had him quit. Even Force India had Perez.
          Only McLaren I see w/o a clear P1. But I still think that they have some preference for Norris, but not at same level that other teams.

  7. No Red Bull, no Mercedes and no Ferrari on the podium since the mid nineties I guess?

    1. It happened in Monza this year, but before that it was Hungary 2012 with McLaren, Lotus, Lotus (Hamilton, Raikkonen, Grosjean)

    2. Only since Monza this year, but throw the name McLaren in as well and yes, would be years ago.

      1. I believe the last podium without RB/Mercedes/Ferrari/McLaren was Australia 2009, which had Brawn, Brawn, Toyota.

        If you want to exclude Brawn on the basis that it became Mercedes, then you could have Malaysia 2006, which had Renault, Renault, Honda–but of course you might wish to exclude Honda because they became Mercedes via Brawn!

        Fortunately, we don’t have to go back any further than Malaysia 2005, where the podium was Renault, Toyota, Williams.

        1. Had a good laugh, thank you.

  8. Russell’s heartbreak means he missed out on joining an exclusive club of drivers whose first ever points came from a win. The two members of that club are Nino Farina and Giancarlo Baghetti – the former by virtue of being the winner of the first ever Grand Prix. Jacques Villeneuve missed out on joining this club by an even smaller margin in 1996 – giving up the lead with just four laps to go due to falling oil pressure in his debut outing at the season opening Grand Prix in Australia (he did hang on to finish second though). Russell of course would have been the only driver where their first points and first win did not come about at their first Grand Prix.

    This was the first win in the hybrid era for a Mercedes customer car. Arguably the W10 managed the unique feat – at least in recent times – of posting wins in two successive seasons :)

    1. We could put Johnnie Parsons in that list too, with his 1950 Indy 500 win ;-)

      1. Yes – never quite convinced about those. It’s a bit like suddenly making Wimbledon a round of the championship and declaring Novak Djokovic a Grand Prix winner as a result :)

    2. @mrfabulous on a more serious note, there are at least two different manufacturers who did have race winning cars competing over two seasons – the Ferrari F2001 (winning the 2002 Australian GP) and F2002 (the 2003 San Marino GP), as did McLaren with their MP4/17.

      In the case of McLaren, the MP4/17 was the more unusual in that it was not only used for the whole of the 2003 season (albeit in a fairly heavily updated D spec car), but it was also more successful in its second season than it was in its first season (winning two races – the 2003 Australian and Malaysian GPs – as opposed to the single victory at the 2002 Monaco GP, and 11 other podium finishes against 9 in 2002) .

      1. Good knowledge!
        And we can add to that, that should RP happen to win this coming weekend, the W10 would match the F2002 in not only having a career that spanned two seasons but also bookending its career with victories in its first and last outings.

  9. If I count correctly, we’ve had 13 different podium finishers so far this season. We might even go to 14 in Abu Dhabi if Russel has a better race (and is still driving a Mercedes of course).

    When was the last time we’ve had so many ?

    1. In 2012 there were thirteen:
      Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Button, Alonso, Massa, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Rosberg, Schumacher, Perez, Kobayashi, Maldonado.
      So if Russell can get on the podium in Abu Dhabi it will indeed beat the record. I don’t know when the last time was that there were more than 13, but I would guess it was either 1994, or sometime in the early 80s.

      1. There were 14 in 1994. I just checked:
        Schumacher, Hill, Berger, Hakkinen, Alesi, Barrichello, Brundle, Coulthard, Mansell, Verstappen, Panis, Blundell, Larini, Bernard.

        1. And 18 in 1982 (probably the record):
          Rosberg, Pironi, Watson, Prost, Lauda, Arnoux, Tambay, Alboreto, de Angelis, Patrese, Piquet, Cheever, Mansell, Reutemann, Villeneuve, de Cesaris, Laffite, Andretti.

        2. The 1994 record can still be beaten with Russell (in the Merc) and, say, Giovinazzi in the Abu Dabhi podium (if you think Giovinazzi is unlikely, try Aitken, Fittipaldi or Latifi). Better yet, let’s suppose that say, Albon cannot race next Sunday for whatever reason and The Hulk gets a podium (or a win) in his RBR, alongside with Russell in the Merc. Te 1982 record, however, of course cannot be beaten next Sunday.

        3. @f1frog
          2008 was the last time F1 had more than 13 podium finishers.14 that year.

          Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Kubica, Alonso, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Vettel, Trulli, Glock, Piquet Jr, Rosberg, Barrichello, Coulthard.

  10. Perez got his first ever win, Ocon got his first ever podium and Russell got his first ever points all at the same race. Also, by virtue of completing their first Grand Prix, Fittipaldi and Aitken got their best ever finishes, so five drivers got career-best results at the same grand prix.

    1. Wow, has it ever happened since the 1950 British GP?

  11. The last time this Silverstone based team won a race was also with car#11. At that time it was Fisichella driving the Jordan. Incidentally, that win in Brazil 2003 was Fisichella was his 10th podium, and this was also Checo’s 10th podium. Both of them had driven for exactly 3 teams until then in their F1 careers.
    After Fisichella left Jordan, it was renamed to Spyker 2 season later, Racing Point is going to be rebranded as Aston Martin in the immediate next season.

    For Fisichella, he did get a chance to be with a front running team after that and was part of Renault’ title triumphs of 2005 and 2006. Hope the similarities continue and similar fate befalls Perez as well!!

  12. George does no longer have a clean slate in the quali battle (not sure if 36-0 is still a record), but is also near certain not to join Will Stevens by ending up at the bottom of the rankings 2 years in a row.
    He can still go for Hulkenberg’s (races without podium finish) and Perez’ (first race win) records in 2027.

  13. This was the first non-European win since the 2018 Monaco GP, and the first from America since Spain 2012. I really doubt there’s been a longer winningless period for America.

    1. @fer-no65 I didn’t immediately get what you mean, but of course, it’s about nationality and or a continent in the latter.

  14. @jerejj America is a continent.

    1. @fer-no65
      It depends on where you from and how you were taught. To me America just refers to the US. The continent being split into two, North and South America.

      Maldonado would be referred to as a South American and Perez a North American. The last North American to win would probably be Jacques Villeneuve at the 1997 Luxembourg GP.

    2. @fer-no65 Indeed or rather three continents (North, Central, South).
      @Dragon86

      1. Nobody thinks central America is a continent

  15. First win for a customer Mercedes PU in the hybrid era!

  16. Perez still holds the record with more GP starts without a pole position.
    Brazil 2012 was the last time a Mercedes powered but not Mercedes car wins.
    The biggest progress in the race (18th to 1) since Canada 2011(21th to 1) .

  17. Erivaldo Moreira
    7th December 2020, 23:27

    There was many first time in this race.
    first points, fastest lap and lap lead for Russell. first GP for Fittipaldi and Aitken.
    First win for Perez. first podium for Ocon. first win and double podium for Racing point.

  18. First race without Hamilton since Brazil 2006.

    First race without the names Hamilton or Schumacher since Portugal 1994 (although Schumacher did not start France 1996).

    First non-season opener to see 2 debutants since Italy 2001 (Enge & Yoong – the former due to a driver having suffered an F1-career-ending crash at the previous race). That race also saw the maiden win for a Latin American driver.

    First time Latifi has outqualified his team-mate.

    Kvyat’s best start since Azerbaijan 2019.

    Both maiden victories for Mexican drivers have been overshadowed by other drivers missing out on fairytale victories (John Love; George Russell).

    Of the 8 constructors to have scored maiden wins in the last 25 years, 6 of them (Jordan, Stewart, BMW Sauber, Brawn GP, Red Bull, Racing Point) got their other car on the podium in the same race. The only exceptions are Toro Rosso and Alpha Tauri.

    The last 3 years to have seen maiden constructor victories (2008, 2009, 2020) have all seen 2 such victories.

    4th different constructor to win this year – most since 2013.

    First win for BWT Mercedes engines – first such maiden win since TAG Heuer in Spain 2016 (which was also a driver’s first win). First time since France 1979 that both a constructor and engine (both Renault) scored their first win in the same race – this was also Jean-Pierre Jabouille’s first win.

    BWT Mercedes is one of only 3 engine suppliers to have scored exactly 1 win, the others being Porsche and Weslake, both of whose only wins came courtesy of Dan Gurney.

    Despite being the third time Perez has scored 100+ point, this is the first season in which he has scored more than 101 points.

    Kvyat has finished ahead of Gasly in 8 of this season’s 16 races (including Gasly’s DNFs), yet has less than half his points total.

    End of Hamilton’s 48-race point-scoring streak. Ricciardo now has the longest unbroken streak with 10 (last no-score was Spain).

    17th consecutive race in which the top 3 has featured a driver whose first name is a 5-letter name starting with L, and the 22nd consecutive race in which one such driver has stood on the podium.

    First time since Austria that Hamilton has not led a lap.

    First race that Hamilton has not finished since Austria 2018. Raikkonen and Ricciardo now have the longest unbroken finishing streaks (both actual and classified) with 15 (last non-finish was Austria 2020).

    Perez is only the second driver to score his maiden win in December. The first was Bruce McLaren, the founder of the team that Perez drove for in 2013 (as one may or not have remembered).

    Perez led more laps in this race (25) than he had in his entire F1 career prior to this race (24).

    Thanks to Channel 4, statsf1, and the official F1 site for some of these.

    1. @paulgilb I liked your stat

      First race without the names Hamilton or Schumacher since Portugal 1994 (although Schumacher did not start France 1996)

      and wondered how much further you could go back without any of three names appearing at an F1 race weekend (at least starting qualifying even if not starting the race). Hamilton/Barrichello/Patrese would go back to 1983?

  19. Check’s win deprived me of the one star I was looking forward to most of Russell won:
    When was the last time 3 drivers won for a single team in one season? Has it even happened?

    1. *meant to say Checo’s win – thanks autocorrect

    2. @ Dane – I’m sure there may be cases in the earlier days of the championship when teams often ran more cars and drivers (and indeed drivers could share a race winning car). In more recent times off the top of my head I can also think of another case similar in some ways to this one – in 1999 when Schumacher broke his legs and was replaced by Mika Salo who led a race but team orders meant he had to hand the lead to his team-mate Eddie Irvine.

  20. Well it’s nearly happened over the years, mostly due to tragic circumstances.

    JP Jarier should have won in Canada 78 as the sub for the late Ronnie Pererson, which would have been 3 Lotus winners, but he had a mechanical fault.

    There were four podium finishers for Ferrari in 1982 but only 2 winners.

    David Coulthard ran wide mid-race in Portugal 1994 allowing Damon Hill to win, otherwise Nigel Mansell’s win at the season finale would have made it 3 Williams winners.

    So looks like we have to go back to Ferrari in 1956 unless I missed something.

    1. And of course had there not been team orders in Germany 1999, we’d have had Mika Salo making it 3 Ferrari winners.

    2. Lotus 1968 (Clark, Hill and Siffert) if you look at constructor as Siffert drove for Rob Walker

      Ferrari 1961 had Von trips, Hill (Phil) and Baghetti

  21. For the second time in 3 races, a driver who led more than half the race distance finished in 9th.

  22. Rashmil Rajagopalan
    8th December 2020, 6:19

    It seems logical for Red Bull to give the seat to Perez. With the same regulations continuing to 2021 and the short winter break, an inform and high on confidence Perez would make so much more sense than Albon.
    Everyone likes Alex, but he’s very low on confidence, going by his driving form and also in his interviews. A break or a change away from a strong teammate like Verstappen and RedBull would anyday be a positive

  23. Also, is Perez the first driver to win a race (across motorsports) after being infected by COVID-19?

    1. @sumedh This I’m not aware of. Maybe, maybe not.

    2. Maybe? NASCAR’s Austin Dillon won race in the Cup Series before later missing one due to COVID-19.

    3. Felipe Nasr won his return race in WeatherTech Championship.

  24. First time in F1 history where two drivers on the podium face a third one that has side-tracked both their careers

  25. Max Verstappen matches Lewis Hamilton’s career amount of retirements – 26.

    1. @mverstappen

      Considering he’s started far fewer races it isn’t flattering. As a (presumed) Verstappen fan you might have kept that one to yourself, but thanks for sharing.

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