George Russell will start on the front row for the first time in his Formula 1 career in today’s Sakhir GP as the sport takes on 87 laps of Bahrain’s ‘oval’ circuit – with plenty of overtaking expected through a mixed-up field.
Russell, who has been masterful this weekend as Lewis Hamilton’s stand-in at Mercedes, has never started higher than 11th during his 36 Grands Prix with Williams but gets a great chance for his first F1 win – let alone his first F1 points – in today’s race, which starts at 5.10pm live on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 3.30pm.
On his Mercedes race debut, Russell starts behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who edged him to pole by just two hundredths of a second, and ahead of Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
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Verstappen will start on the soft tyre compared to the Silver Arrows on the mediums.
Behind them, Charles Leclerc leads a highly-competitive chasing midfield pack, although is expecting Sergio Perez – who was so cruelly denied a podium last weekend in Bahrain – to be faster with his race pace.
Daniil Kvyat joins Perez on the third row, while there are plenty of other drivers out of position – namely Alex Albon in the Red Bull who qualified only 12th and is battling for his F1 future with two races remaining in 2020.
It is the first-ever F1 race at Bahrain’s ‘Outer’ track, which broke records on Saturday with a 53-second pole lap and should encourage overtaking with plenty of straights.
There are two drivers making their F1 debuts – Jack Aitken at Williams and Pietro Fittipaldi at Haas.
Sakhir GP: Provisional Starting Grid
1. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
2. George Russell, Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
5. Sergio Perez, Racing Point
6. Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri
7. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
8. Carlos Sainz, McLaren
9. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
10. Lance Stroll, Racing Point
11. Esteban Ocon, Renault
12. Alexander Albon, Red Bull
13. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
14. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
15. Lando Norris, McLaren
16. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
17. Nicholas Latifi, Williams
18. Jack Aitken, Williams
19. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
20. Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas
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