Several things can happen tomorrow at the Sakhir Grand Prix in the Outer Loop Circuit, as today’s volatile Qualifying session proved. The short length of this track will generate situations of draft and traffic that can make the race a very unpredictable one.
Even without Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes was able to seal the full first row for tomorrow. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) lapped .026 seconds ahead of his interim teammate, George Russell (ENG), who headed the first two practice sessions. The pole position time was 53.377 segundos, the lap with shortest time in history of F1.
It is no surprise that Max Verstappen (NED, Red Bull) was third but he is too close for Mercedes’ comfort, just .056 seconds adrift. He was followed by Charles Leclerc (MON, Ferrari) with a great lap only .236 behind, and Sergio Pérez (MEX, Racing Point) closed the top 5 .413 off the pole. The Mexican driver was second in Q2 and at some point had the track record during Q2.
The Honda had a good performance overall in this acceleration track. Beyond Verstappen’s third, the AlphaTauris made it to Q3 Q3, with Danii Kvyat (RUS) sixth and Pierre Gasly (FRA) ninth. The Honda that did not have a good result was Alex Albon’s (THA, Red Bull), in 12th. Team Director, Christian Horner, did not seem to love that.
Ricciardo (AUS, Renault) and Sainz (ESP, McLaren) were the other drivers in Q3 while his teammates Esteban Ocon (FRA, Renault) and Lando Norris (ENG, McLaren) did not make it through. Norris blamed himself for going out too early and he apologized with the team.
Te session had two débutantes. Jack Aitken (ENG, Williams) was in Q2 for a bit and was lapping better than teammate Nicholas Latifi (CAN) but in the end the Canadian would make a better lap, albeit just one tenth ahead. Good job by Aitken. The other débutante, Pietro Fittipaldi (BRA, Haas) was last and the only driver not to lap under 55 seconds, but he kept “on the pace” throughout.
It could be a great race tomorrow!
Sakhir Grand Prix Qualifying Results:
|3||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||54.037||53.647||53.433||17|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||54.236||53.787||53.790||17|
|6||26||Daniil Kvyat||ALPHATAURI HONDA||54.346||53.856||53.906||26|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||MCLAREN RENAULT||54.450||53.818||54.010||20|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||54.207||53.941||54.154||28|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES||54.595||53.840||54.200||19|
|12||23||Alexander Albon||RED BULL RACING HONDA||54.620||54.026||12|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||54.523||54.377||14|
|15||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN RENAULT||54.194||54.693||15|
|16||20||Kevin Magnussen||HAAS FERRARI||54.705||9|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||54.796||11|
|18||89||Jack Aitken||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||54.892||9|
|19||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||54.963||11|
|20||51||Pietro Fittipaldi||HAAS FERRARI||55.426||11|