Max P2 in first practice of the Sakhir GP

Published on 04 December 2020 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen was second quickest in the opening session of the Sakhir Grand Prix. The event is held on a different configuration of the Bahrain International Circuit and is characterised by long straight and only a few corners.

Quickest in FP1 was George Russell, who replaces Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this weekend, following the World Champion’s positive covid-19 test. Max’ Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team-mate Alex Albon complete the top three.

Russell is not the only driver driving a new car. His Williams seat is filled by F2 driver Jack Aitken. Meanwhile, Pietro Fittipaldi is occupying Romain Grosjean’s car at Haas, with the Frenchman still recovering from his horror crash on the opening lap of the Bahrain GP.

 At the start of the session, we see the usual flurry of installation laps and it takes a while before the first lap times are clocked.

Max Verstappen fans have to wait almost half an hour before any indication of the Dutchman’s pace. When he does take to the track, he does so on the soft Pirelli tyre compound, on which he secures P2 on his first attempt.

With half an hour to go, Max heads out on a new set of soft Pirellis and he joins the two Mercedes and his team-mate at the top of the timing sheets.

In the end, George Russell enjoys a strong first session for Mercedes, outpacing both Max and Bottas to take P1.

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Results first free practice Sakhir:

1George RussellRUSMercedes54.546 49
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda54.722+0.176s29
3Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda54.811+0.265s18
4Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes54.868+0.322s44
5Daniil KvyatKVYAlphaTauri Honda55.011+0.465s40
6Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda55.166+0.620s37
7Esteban OconOCORenault55.273+0.727s49
8Sebastian VettelVETFerrari55.281+0.735s40
9Daniel RicciardoRICRenault55.379+0.833s39
10Charles LeclercLECFerrari55.449+0.903s35
11Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes55.558+1.012s41
12Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes55.716+1.170s33
13Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault55.757+1.211s41
14Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari55.783+1.237s32
15Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari55.858+1.312s35
16Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault56.078+1.532s47
17Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari56.130+1.584s37
18Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes56.764+2.218s48
19Pietro FittipaldiFITHaas Ferrari57.077+2.531s24
20Jack AitkenAITWilliams Mercedes57.187+2.641s33