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.
2020 SAKHIR GRAND PRIX QUALIFICATION RESULTS:
|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|