F1 Race Event: Sakhir F1 GP
Race Track: Bahrain Outer Track Circuit

Start time: 18:10 CET | 17:10 UK | 09:10 LA | 02:10 Tokio

Valtteri Bottas did what everybody expected from him and scored his 16th pole. It was the 66th pole for a Finnish driver in Formula 1. His fresh teammate George Russell will start has second for the first time in his F1 career.

Max Verstappen will start from P3, which isn't very bad compared to P2. Because P3 is on the clean side of the track. The Dutchman will also start on the soft tyre, while both Mercedes drivers will start on the "slower" medium tyre.

It will be interesting to see who arrives first at turn 1. It won't surprise me if it won't be a Mercedes...

Pietro Fittipaldi who drives the Haas car of Romain Grosjean and McLaren driver Lando Norris will have to start from the back of the grid for use of additional power unit elements. They both used more elements than allowed in a whole season.

George Russell will start from P2 for the first time. Another new face on the grid is that of Jack Aitken, who was asked to drive the Williams of Russell in Bahrain.

F1 Starting Grid 2020 Sakhir GP

Pos No Driver Team Lap Time Pole gap Tyres
1 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0:53,377 M (C3)
2 63 George Russell Mercedes 0:53,403 +0,026s M (C3)
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0:53,433 +0,056s S (C4)
4 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0:53,613 +0,236s S (C4)
5 11 Sergio Pérez Racing Point 0:53,790 +0,413s S (C4)
6 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 0:53,906 +0,529s S (C4)
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 0:53,957 +0,580s S (C4)
8 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren 0:54,010 +0,633s S (C4)
9 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0:54,154 +0,777s S (C4)
10 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 0:54,200 +0,823s S (C4)
11 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 0:53,995 +0,618s Free
12 23 Alex Albon Red Bull 0:54,026 +0,649s Free
13 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0:54,175 +0,798s Free
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 0:54,377 +1,000s Free
15 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 0:54,705 +1,328s Free
16 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams 0:54,796 +1,419s Free
17 89 Jack Aitken Williams 0:54,892 +1,515s Free
18 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo 0:54,963 +1,586s Free
19 4 *Lando Norris McLaren 0:54,194 +0,817s Free
20 51 *Pietro Fittipaldi Haas 0:55,426 +2,049s Free


  • Haas car no. 51 - Pietro Fittipaldi is required to start from back of grid for use of additional power unit elements.
  • McLaren car no. 4 - Lando Norris is required to start from back of grid for use of additional power unit elements.

2020 Sakhir F1 GP Race Strategy

A two-stop strategy seems set to be the fastest approach to the 87-lap Sakhir Grand Prix, which is the highest lap count of the year. While the demands on tyres are a bit less than they were at the Bahrain Grand Prix, wear and degradation is still relatively high on the abrasive surface.

The fastest two-stopper should be two stints on the P Zero Yellow medium tyre of 26 laps each, plus one 35-lap stint on the P Zero White hard tyre (which could be the middle stint).

F1 Starting Grid 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

Alternatively, another good two-stopper would be one 21-lap stint on the P Zero Red soft plus two stints on the hard tyre of 33 laps each. Very close to that is a strategy with 25 laps on the medium and two stints of 31 laps each on the hard.
What's slower is using all three tyres: 23 laps on the soft, 27 laps on the medium, and 37 laps on the hard.

All of the above stints can be run in any order, and with the two frontrunners starting on the medium tyre, they have plenty of options – depending on the actual degradation rates that they encounter during the race, with track temperatures capable of falling over the course of the night race.

2020 Sakhir F1 GP Race Notes

  • Strategy. Seven drivers ran the P Zero Yellow medium tyres in Q2, but the Mercedes drivers were the only ones to set their fastest times on this compound – meaning they will start on it tomorrow – with Valtteri Bottas on pole and his team mate George Russell second.
  • Tactics. Both AlphaTauri cars ran the medium tyres at the start of the final Q3 session, preserving a new set of softs for the final decisive run.
  • Rapid laps. This was the shortest timed pole lap in Formula 1 since Ferrari driver Niki Lauda took pole for the 1974 French Grand Prix at Dijon. The short lap meant that finding a clear lap in the traffic was essential in qualifying, and this will be an issue in the race tomorrow as well.
  • Temperatures. Track temperatures for qualifying were similar to how they had been in FP3 (where Red Bull's Max Verstappen went fastest) at 26 degrees centigrade.

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