Mercedes lockout front row for Bahrain GP

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images

For once, this weekend wasn’t about Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas, it was about McLaren, Racing Point, Renault and Ferrari as they all battled for 3rd and fourth in the Constructor’s Championship.

As Qualifying is important, the Bahrain Grand Prix has been known to produce passing so would the grid position be as critical? The short answer is that it always is important but just how important would be revealed on Sunday.

In the cool air on a grippy circuit, it was a question of which Mercedes would secure pole position or could Red Bull’s Max Verstappen make a run for it? The key was Q2 with the Medium compound tires for Sunday but in Q3, it was down to the fastest car on Softs.

The critical storyline started quickly in Q2 with a stalled McLaren and red flag condition. This is exactly what McLaren didn’t need in their battle for 3rd int eh championship. Carlos Sainz seemed to have a locked rear axle spinning him into turn 1 and it foreshadowed a potential gearbox change which would be a grid penalty putting the McLaren at the back of the grid on Sunday. First wound in the constructor’s battle goes to McLaren.

Racing Point at 154 points to McLaren’s 149, Renault’s 136 and Ferrari’s 130…that’s what we are playing for and McLaren having a car at the back of the grid is a big blow.

The second wounds were delivered to Ferrari who could only manage 11th and 12th for Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc respectively and a wound for racing Point’s Lance Stroll who finished behind Ferrari in 13th. This left both Renaults, Sergio Perez’s Racing Point and Lando Norris’s McLaren in Q3 and leading the title fight contenders.

In the end, Mercedes locked out the front row (that’s 11 for them) but it was Sergio Perez who jumped up to 5th ahead of the Renault duo in 6th and 7th with Lando Norris down in 9th. Pierre Gasly put the Alpha Tauri cat among the pigeons in 8th.

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m27.264s
2Valtteri BottasMercedes0.289s
3Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda0.414s
4Alexander AlbonRed Bull/Honda1.010s
5Sergio PerezRacing Point/Mercedes1.058s
6Daniel RicciardoRenault1.153s
7Esteban OconRenault1.155s
8Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri/Honda1.184s
9Lando NorrisMcLaren/Renault1.278s
10Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri/Honda1.354s
11Sebastian VettelFerrari1.885s
12Charles LeclercFerrari1.901s
13Lance StrollRacing Point/Mercedes2.293s
14George RussellWilliams/Mercedes3.954s
15Carlos Sainz Jr.McLaren/Renault
16Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo/Ferrari2.227s
17Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo/Ferrari2.546s
18Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari2.847s
19Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari2.874s
20Nicholas LatifiWilliams/Mercedes2.918s
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