BWT Racing Point Formula One Team suffered a double retirement at an eventful Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sergio Pérez was on target for his second consecutive third place finish and another podium but it all went wrong for him with just four laps left in the race. The back end of his car started to blow out smoke a lap earlier but Pérez ignored that and decided to continue until the back of his car set alight, causing him to have to pull over and retire.
Despite the misfortune that fell on the Mexican, Pérez feel’s that the result ‘almost becomes irrelevant’ after the horrific crash Romain Grosjean had on the first lap. The Haas F1 Team driver crashed into the barrier after Turn 3 due to contact with Daniil Kvyat. The force of the car caused his car to do through the barrier and split the car in two. The most terrifying thing of it all was his car became engulfed in flames. Thankfully, Grosjean managed to walk away from the incident and was transferred to a local hospital to be assessed.
Pérez said: “It’s really hard for both myself and the team to take today’s result, but in the grand scheme of things, it almost becomes irrelevant after Romain’s crash at the start. At the end of the day, it’s either one more or one less podium or trophy for me, but the important thing is that Romain is still with us and that he’s ok. I wish him all the best.
“It was certainly hard to get back into the car after seeing something like that, but you just have to focus and prepare for the race. I think we executed a perfect race and the podium was definitely ours – it was going to be one of my best in Formula 1. It was gutting to retire with three laps left due to an MGU-K electrical issue. We were going to finish ahead of a Red Bull and a Mercedes, which is a great credit to all of us at the team, and we’d done such a good job all weekend too.
“We’ve lost out on some really important points today, which makes it a bit more difficult in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship battles, but the positive is that there are still two more races to make up for it.”
Lance Stroll – “I can’t say much about today’s incident”
Lance Stroll’s casualty came in the wake of the restart after racing got back underway. The Canadian’s car was flipped over when his car drove over the wheel of Kvyat who in Stroll’s words ‘came out of nowhere’.
It does mean that Stroll has not completed four of the last six races he has been in.
“I’m really happy that Romain was able to walk away from that crash as it was a scary one to see happen. I think all of us drivers in the pitlane had to stop for a second and reset before getting back into the car. I’m definitely thinking of him. For me, personally, I’m really frustrated by the race,” said Stroll.
“We’ve scored two points since Monza and it’s been a series of incidents outside of my control that’s caused it. At one point this season we were P4 in the Drivers’ Championship and we’d had such a strong start to the year, so that makes the current situation all the more frustrating. I can’t say much about today’s incident, I was going through Turn 8 and was mid-corner when I was hit by Daniil [Kvyat] who came out of nowhere and connected with me. The crash looked worse than it was: I’m ok, and Daniil got a penalty.
“There’s no point thinking about what could have been today or in the previous events. We won’t dwell on it because there’s nothing we can do about it now. We need this run of bad luck to end and we’ll focus on coming back stronger next week and finishing the season on a high.”
Otmar Szafnauer – “A tough evening in Bahrain”
CEO and Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer, as much as he is relived that Grosjean is ok, is disappointed that the team missed out on a podium in such a cruel way. It was there’s to lose and with no-one near Pérez in the last laps, it seemed it would only be his third place.
Both of the incidents means the team has conceded their third place in the Constructors Championship to McLaren F1 Team, who leapfrogged them with a strong performance. It’ll be all to play for some the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Szafnauer said: “A tough evening in Bahrain. Checo was cruelly denied a podium after an MGU-K issue forced us to park the car with three laps remaining. Up to that point, he had driven a flawless race, managing the tyres perfectly, and running comfortably in third place.
“Lance was just as unlucky – being eliminated through no fault of his own after Kvyat flipped him over. It was a scary moment, but fortunately Lance was checked at the medical centre and is ok. It makes the fight for third in the championship more difficult, but there are still two races to go, plenty of points available, and we know we have a competitive car.
“We will give everything we have to recover the lost points today and reclaim third in the championship. Regarding Romain’s accident, we share the relief of the entire paddock that he only has minor injuries. It was a frightening accident and credit to the FIA and sport as a whole for the safety standards we have worked hard to deliver in recent times.”