Bottas pips Russell for pole position at the Sakhir Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas took pole position at the Sakhir Grand Prix in the penultimate race of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. George Russell was in second position, just 0.026 seconds behind. Max Verstappen was in third position behind the two Mercedes drivers.

Charles Leclerc, Sergio Pérez, Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly, and Lance Stroll completed the top 10 positions.

The qualifying session started under the floodlights with air temperatures at 23 degree C and track temperatures at 27 degree C at the Outer Track of the Bahrain International Circuit. The three Pirelli tyre compounds for this race are the white-striped hard tyres (C2), the yellow-striped medium tyres (C3) and the red-striped soft tyres (C4).

Lewis Hamilton was missing in action due to his positive Covid19 test. George Russell was driving in his place. Rookie driver Jack Aitken replaced Russell at the Williams Racing Team.

Pietro Fittipaldi was driving in place of the injured Romain Grosjean for the Haas F1 team. The Brazilian will start at the back of the grid because of the grid penalties for exceeding the Power Unit allocation limits.

Q1: Kimi Räikkönen Eliminated

The eighteen-minute long first session of qualifying got underway with the Haas F1 team drivers on the track first on the soft compound tyres. The two Mercedes drivers came out on the medium compound tyres and went to the top of the time charts.

But Sergio Pérez on the soft compound tyres displaced Bottas from the top position. Verstappen with a lap time of 0:54.037s went to the top of the time charts shortly afterwards. Ricciardo slotted into third position.

With two minutes to go, the Mercedes drivers came out on the soft compound tyres and Bottas went to the top of the time charts, 0.133 seconds faster than Verstappen.

Q1 dropzone: Kevin Magnussen, Nicholas Latifi, Jack Aitken, Kimi Räikkönen, Pietro Fittipaldi

Q2: Alexander Albon Eliminated

The fifteen-minute long second qualification session started with Carlos Sainz the first driver on the track on the soft compound tyres. Bottas set the fastest lap time of 0:53.803 in the early exchanges.

Russell was in second position just 0.016 seconds behind Bottas. Verstappen slotted into third position a further 0.203 seconds behind.

Pérez then edged ahead of Bottas by 0.016 seconds. Stroll took fourth position just 0.053 seconds behind his Mexican team-mate. Sainz then with a stellar lap split the Mercedes drivers to take third position.

In the dying minutes of the session, Verstappen went to the top of the time charts. But the two Mercedes drivers were the only drivers who set their fastest lap times on the medium compound tyres and will start the race on these tyres.

Q2 dropzone: Esteban Ocon, Alexander Albon, Sebastian Vettel, Antonio Giovinazzi, Lando Norris

The final all important twelve-minute shootout started with the Mercedes drivers, Verstappen and Pérez very close to each other and in the shoot out for pole position.

Verstappen took provisional pole position with a lap time of 0:53.591s. Leclerc surprisingly took second position, just 0.022 seconds behind. The Mercedes drivers at this point were only on the second row.

Both Mercedes drivers after their initial run on used tyres went out on a brand new set of soft compound tyres and Bottas took pole position. Russell was just 0.142 seconds behind him and took second position.

The Mercedes drivers threw the gauntlet down to Verstappen to snatch pole position. But on the final runs, Bottas did not improve but clinched pole position. Russell improved but lost out on a magical pole position by just 0.026 seconds.

Verstappen improved but had to be content with third position. Leclerc joins him on the second row in fourth position.

Pérez who has been fast all-weekend finished in fifth position. Kvyat with a stellar final lap took sixth position.

Ricciardo was the lone Renault DP World F1 Team driver in the top 10 in seventh position. Sainz, Gasly and Stroll rounded off the top 10 positions.


Pos # Driver Nat. Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 77 Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team 53.904 53.803 53.377 24
2 63 George Russell GBR Williams Racing 54.16 53.819 53.403 25
3 33 Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 54.037 53.647 53.433 17
4 16 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 54.249 53.825 53.613 21
5 11 Sergio Pérez MEX BWT Racing Point Formula One Team 54.236 53.787 53.79 17
6 26 Daniil Kvyat RUS Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 54.346 53.856 53.906 26
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault DP World F1 Team 54.388 53.871 53.957 15
8 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP McLaren F1 Team 54.45 53.818 54.01 20
9 10 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 54.207 53.941 54.154 28
10 18 Lance Stroll CAN BWT Racing Point Formula One Team 54.595 53.84 54.2 19
11 31 Esteban Ocon FRA Renault DP World F1 Team 54.309 53.995   13
12 23 Alexander Albon THA Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 54.62 54.026   12
13 5 Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari 54.301 54.175   17
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing 54.523 54.377   14
15 4 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 54.194 54.693   15
16 20 Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team 54.705     9
17 6 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 54.796     11
18 89 Jack Aitken GBR Williams Racing 54.892     9
19 7 Kimi Räikkönen FIN Alfa Romeo Racing 54.963     11
20 51 Pietro Fittipaldi BRA Haas F1 Team 55.426     11

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