Sakhir GP - Russell doesn't beat Bottas for first place in his first Q3

The Track - Sakhir

This year's calendar presents the drivers with yet another new circuit. This weekend the drivers will be facing it off at the outer loop of the original Bahrain GP track. It consists of 11 corners with four breaking points and several DRS zones which present the drivers with a lot of overtaking opportunities. The race will consist of 87 laps with times recording to an average of 55 seconds. While the soft compound tyre can help the drivers to keep their place on top, the sandy surface - as the track is located in the desert - might make them opt for the hard compound.

How are they lining up on the grid?

  1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
  2. George Russell (Mercedes)
  3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
  6. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri)
  7. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
  8. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
  9. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
  10. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
  11. Esteban Ocon (Renault)
  12. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
  13. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
  15. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  16. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
  17. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
  18. Jack Aitken (Williams)
  19. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
  20. Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas)

What went down during qualifying?

In his first ever Q3 session, George Russell only managed to get second place on the grid after his teammate for the weekend, Valtteri Bottas was faster than him. Both Mercedes started off their second run in Q3 with a new set of soft compound tyres. Russell was only faster than Bottas in the last sector. This is his first time in Q3 as he replaced Lewis Hamilton who got tested positive for COVID-19 last Tuesday.

 

Embed from Getty Images

Alex Albon got lucky in Q1 as he was close to going wide off the red and white curb at Turn 8. He finished off Q1 in 15th place, to be eliminated in Q2 and finish 12th. He could be considered a bit unlucky after he finished in the top six in every practice session but he could not seem to find the pace during qualifying. On the other hand, his teammate at Red Bull, Max Verstappen made sure that one of the cars get a top ten place.

Charles Leclerc made sure that Ferrari got a good position on the grid tomorrow. Both Ferraris started Q2 on the same mediums they used in Q1. Sebastian Vettel did not finish his first lap as he went into the pits while he was still in 13th place. He changed to the softer tyres but he did not manage to progress to a better place. Meanwhile, Leclerc managed to go up to 6th place in Q2 from 12th. In the last session he sent one flying lap which was two one hundreds of a second faster than that of Verstappen. He went back to the pits and did not risk going out on another lap.

 

Embed from Getty Images

Lando Norris struggled during his qualifying session. He had his first time deleted in Q1 as he exceeded the track limits at Turn 8. He made it to Q2 after sending a flying lap to finish in fourth. During Q2, he stopped his car during the first lap. It seemed like he felt a problem with the car but then managed to keep driving. He could not record a fast lap to get him out of the elimination zone by the end of the session. On the radio he blamed himself for quitting to early and so he will start from 15th tomorrow. Meanwhile Carlos Sainz had a great session. He recorded a good enough time in Q1 with hard compound tyres. He then changed to soft tyres and managed to grasp 8th for McLaren.

Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi - who is taking Romain Grosjean's place in the Haas this weekend - will start from the back of the grid. He took it easy in Q1 as no result would get him out of that place. He took the engine parts from Grosjean's car which was destroyed in the last weekend's fire. Without a doubt these had to be replaced and Fittipaldi was the one to suffer the grid penalty.

 

 

Embed from Getty Images

Formula One Rookie, Jack Aitken who is driving in Williams this weekend, managed to out qualify the most experienced driver on the grid, Kimi Raikkonen. The Finnish driver had a break problem with his Alfa Romeo on the first run. He managed to get himself out of the bottom five in the first lap after fixing the car, but it was not fast enough and so will start from 19th.

 

Embed from Getty Images

VAVEL Logo