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Valtteri Bottas on pole for Sakhir Grand Prix



Valtteri Bottas
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Valtteri Bottas on pole for Sakhir Grand Prix


Valtteri Bottas on pole for Sakhir Grand Prix, as Mercedes lockout the front-row after an impressive lap by George Russell to secure second marginally behind Bottas. 

George Russell made his first appearance in Q3 for first-time in F1 and recorded his highest-ever finish in a qualifying session, finishing 0.026sec behind the Finn.

The British driver replaced Lewis Hamilton after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and Russell was announced as a Mercedes driver on Wednesday.

Max Verstappen took the provisional (provisional) pole, yet Mercedes decided to run three sets of soft tyres in Q3, as Bottas went fastest in their second run, just slightly ahead of Russell. However, the British driver improved on his final lap, going faster in sector two and three, whereas Bottas didn’t improve. Russell finished marginally behind the Finn, 0.026, to record his best-ever qualifying result and a Mercedes one-two. 

Verstappen felt it was an opportunity to miss to record his first pole of 2020 after failing to improve on his final lap and finished 0.030 behind the British driver to start on the second row.

A special mention to Charles Leclerc who was phenomenal on his one flying lap in Q3 that went 2nd fastest at the time, and finished in a respectable 4th in a Ferrari that has lacked straight-line speed throughout the season. Sergio Perez, who cruelly missed out on a podium in Bahrain last weekend, was fantastic throughout Saturday and will start 5th. Definitely in for a chance for his second podium of 2020.


Battle for 3rd

Despair for McLaren after a strong Grand Prix last weekend as Lando Norris failed to get a clean lap on his final run in Q2 and will start in 15th. The British manufacturing team, who started the weekend in 3rd in the constructor championship, have Carlos Sainz in 8th in their hope the Spaniard can maintain a strong start tomorrow. 

Racing Point had both drivers in Q3, but it was a mixed result. Perez in 5th and Lance Stroll in 10th who struggled to match his teammate’s speed in qualifying, falling 0.410secs behind the Mexican.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo starts the furthest ahead out of three teams, 0.056secs ahead of Sainz. However, it would have been a disappointing result for Esteban Ocon, who finished 7th and 4th in FP1 &FP2, but traffic held up the Frenchman in his final flying run in Q2 and couldn’t improve, starting tomorrow in 11th. 

Sebastian Vettel had to install an old engine into his car at the end of FP3 and struggled for speed in qualifying after only going 13th fastest and didn’t reappear at the end of Q2 as his terrible tenure at Ferrari now reaches the final hurdle. The Italian-based team still has the opportunity to finish 3rd in the constructor standing and all hope will be on Leclerc tomorrow to perform an outstanding result. 


Two new debutants take to the paddock

Eyes were on the two new debutants in F1 for qualifying that saw Jack Aitken – replacing George Russell at Williams – and Pietro Fittipaldi – replacing Romain Grosjean at Haas – take part in their first-ever qualifying session. 

Aitken, who has been participating in F2 this season, was relatively quick throughout the first session and out-paced his teammate, Nicholas Latifi, on their opening two flying laps. However, inexperience showed when the British driver went wide in the final corner and finished 0.096secs behind Latifi and will start 18th. The Canadian has now out-qualified a teammate for the first time in his F1 career. 

The other debutant, Fittipaldi, was heavily praised by his Haas team for putting ‘in the grind’ all weekend, but the Brazilian could only go 20th fastest in Q1. No matter how quick the Brazilian was on the day, he would have started at the back of the grind after PU penalties. 


Sakhir Grand Prix – Qualifying Result

1st – Valtteri Bottas

2nd – George Russell

3rd – Max Verstappen

4th – Charles Leclerc

5th – Sergio Perez

6th – Daniil Kvyat

7th – Daniel Ricciardo

8th – Carlos Sainz

9th – Pierre Gasly

10th – Lance Stroll


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