Sakhir GP 2020

DECEMBER 4, 2020

Friday Report - Russell times two

George Russell, Sakhir GP 2020
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

By Dan Knutson

Williams driver George Russell, who was subbing for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton who tested positive for COVID-19, clocked the fastest lap time in both of Friday's practice sessions for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – George Russell and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc; Red Bull Honda – Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon; McLaren Renault – Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris; Renault – Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon; AlphaTauri Honda – Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly; Racing Point Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll; Alfa Romeo Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi; Haas Ferrari – Pietro Fittipaldi and Kevin Magnussen; Williams Mercedes – Jack Atkin and Nicolas Latifi.

Quickest in FP1 was Russell, who was subbing for Lewis Hamilton who tested positive for COVID-19, with a time of 54.546 seconds.

Fittipaldi, subbing for Grosjean in the Haas, was the first out in FP2 on the11-turn 2.201-mile (3.543 km) Sakhir circuit.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 75 degrees Fahrenheit ( degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 79 degrees Fahrenheit ( degrees Centigrade).

Sainz set the early pace with a lap in 55.699 seconds. Ocon beat that with 0.55.210 and then a 0.55.185.

Vettel had a spin at Turn 2 and kept going 15 minutes in the session. His Ferrari teammate Leclerc was in the pits with gearbox woes.

Norris radioed that his car had floor damage and pitted for repairs.

At the 25 minute mark Verstappen posted a 0.55.043. And as the 30 minute mark approached the order was Verstappen, Ocon, Bottas, Perez, Kvyat, Gasly, Russell and Ricciardo. All had used Pirelli's hard and medium compound tires.

Perez and Stroll were the first out on the soft compound slicks. Perez posted a 0.54.866 to take the lead.

Vettel, also on the softs, had a big spin at Turn 6, and Magnussen had to stand on the brakes to avoid hitting the Ferrari.

Just past the midpoint of FP2 the order was: Russell (0.54.713), Perez, Ocon, Verstappen, Kvyat, Stroll, Ricciardo and Albon. All had been on the softs.

Bottas clocked the fastest lap time only to have it deleted because he exceeded track limits.

At the one-hour mark, with most of the qualifying sims completed, the top 10 were: Russell, Verstappen, Perez, Ocon, Albon, Kvyat, Stroll, Ricciardo, Gasly and Sainz.

And that order did not change in the last half hour as the drivers switched to race simulations.