George Russell was coasting to his first win in F1 when Mercedes got a double-stack pit stop horribly wrong which cost both of their drivers a podium spot. Lewis Hamilton was absent this weekend after contracting coronavirus so Russell was granted special permission from Williams to step in.
Bottas started at the front of the grid but was overtaken by his new team-mate on the opening lap.
Russell held on until the 60th lap when disaster struck.
Mercedes mechanics put Bottas’ tyres on Russell’s car as both vehicles came in to pit at the same time under a virtual safety car.
That meant Russell had to pit again on the next lap to change his tyres before he received a penalty.
The 22-year-old was on course for the win but was cruelly denied.
”Guys I don’t know what to say,” Russell said over his team radio after crossing the finish line in 10th place.
“It was taken away from us twice. It’s been a pleasure and f**king loved it honestly.
”I’m gutted. I’m absolutely gutted.”
Bottas was held in the pits for a substantial period of time as his mechanics searched for the missing tyres which were unknowingly on Russell’s car.
When they could not be found the old tyres which had just been taken off were put back on.
The mix-up meant Bottas dropped down the grid.
That error would have been great new for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen or Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc had they not crashed out of the race on the opening lap.
The serious of unusual events paved the way for Racing Point’s Sergio Perez to seal the first win of his career.
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