George Russel and Valtteri Bottas lined up to keep the Mercedes pole domination going for the Sakhir Grand Prix. Russell making his debut with Mercedes standing in for a COVID-19 impacted Lewis Hamilton, had down well during the practice sessions but so too had Bottas as well as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Using the outer loop of the Bahrain circuit would be a brand new challenge for the F1 teams and it would also present some of the quickest times in F1 history with sub-one minute lap times.
McLaren worked long hours over Friday night making serious changes to their cars due to a lack of pace and Ferrari changed Sebastian Vettel’s engine between FP3 and qualifying. It was also a debut for Pietro Fittipaldi at Haas F1 standing in for the recovering Romain Grosjean and Jack Aitken standing in for George Russell at Williams.
Jack Aitken did a nice job just a tenth off Nichola Latifi’s time. That means Latifi out qualified his teammate for the first time in his F1 career. Fittipladi struggled to stay close to teammate Kevin Magnussen. Out in Q1 were Latifi, Aitken, Raikkonen, Magnussen, and Fittipaldi.
If you’re following the battle for third in the Constructor’s Championship, then the pace of the Renault duo in Q2 was important as was Racing Point’s and McLaren. Both Ferrari’s made their second runs on Medium tires which was an interesting gamble. Vettel aborted the lap and Charles Leclerc jumped up to 6th. Out in Q2 were Norris, Albon, Vettel, Giovinazzi and Ocon.
Initial runs proved a bit of a surprise with Mercedes bested by Leclerc’s Ferrari and Verstappen’s Red Bull who was on provisional pole. This left the two Racing Point cars charging forward with Perez pipping Russell. Interestingly, Mercedes was immediately back out to make three runs during the session.
Mercs were using scrubbed Softs for their first run. The second runs were on fresh Softs and that launched Bottas to provisional pole followed by Russell in 2nd.
Russell missed pole by just two hundredths of a second from Bottas and Verstappen slotted third for the race. A terrific result for Daniil Kvyat and Charles Leclerc.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda||54.037s||53.647s||53.433s|
|5||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point-Mercedes||54.236s||53.787s||53.79s|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren-Renault||54.45s||53.818s||54.01s|
|10||Lance Stroll||Racing Point-Mercedes||54.595s||53.84s||54.2s|
|12||Alex Albon||Red Bull-Honda||54.62s||54.026s|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||54.523s||54.377s|
|19||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||54.963s|