The 2020 Grand Prix in Sakhir was a Formula 1 engine race which was held on 6 December 2020 for 87 laps on the Outer Circuit on the Bahrain International Track in Sakhir, Bahrain. The Formula One Grand Prix was officially known as Formula 1 Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix 2020.
It was the first Formula One race on this path. The race was the sixteenth and the penultimate round of the F1 World Championship in 2020 and the second of Bahrain’s two back-to-back races, with the Bahrain GP taking place on a different scale at that same location the week previously.
The first round of the Sakhir Grand Prix was also celebrated.
The contest was won by the first Formula One winner, Sergio Pérez from Racing Point, who has won a race since the Belgian GP, won by Pedro Rodríguez in 1970.
Racing Point was the first British builder to win at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix a race since the end of Lotus F1 and also became Mercedes’s first Formula One win since Brazilian Grand Prix in 2012 as a customer engine supplier.
HOW COVID IMPACTED THE RACE
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of races originally planned for the 2020 championship were postponed or canceled. In order to maximize race numbers on the calendar, the FIA has drawn up a new timetable 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
The Grand Prix Sahir was added to the timetable in August 2020. The Grand Prix was officially held behind closed doors on 6 December 2020, a week after the Grand Prix of Bahrain was held in the same venue but local health workers and their families were given guest permits in recognition of their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bahrain.
This race took the layout of “Outer Circuit,” the first F1 race in the race. The Grand Prix, which was held in Bahrain for the Grand Prix a week before, is 3,543 kilometers shorter than the 5,412 kilometers.
The race was disputed over 87 races to cover the distance required under the regulations of 305 km (190 mi). Lap times were less than one minute in practice. The only other Grand Prix World Championship weekend with 1-minute lap times in 1974 is the Dijon-Prenois French Grand Prix.
Lando Norris, the McLaren driver, likened the high-speed layout to the Thruxton circuit, whilst George Russell, the regular Williams driver, claimed that the layout was a “bonkers” Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo expressed hope that the circuit would offer good opportunities for overtaking and Carlos Sainz Jr. of McLaren suggested that it would be difficult to choose the correct setup, especially low power levels.
After the Free Training sessions on Friday, some drivers have declared themselves unhappy with the layout.
Drivers such as Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen feared potential safety issues during the first and second knockout qualifier sessions with a high likelihood that the cars on the track will be close due to the shorter lap distance and potential huge differences in the closed speeds, especially in the beginning of the qualifier.
Verstappen described the design as “not the most exciting” while Sebastian Vettel of the Ferrari called the layout “too short” The circuit reminds him of the Karting days of his team-mate, Charles Leclerc, from Ferrari.
Despite driver concerns about an extraordinarily short lap-time which leads to traffic problems in qualifying, FIA confirmed that it would not relax the rules on sports during the competition and that any driver found guilty of impeding a competitor still had penalties to be handed out.
The teams and drivers were identical to the entry list for the pre-season with three exceptions. The first Pietro Fittipaldi replaced Romain Grosjean for Haas after a crash on the Bahrain Grand Prix the week before.
Lewis Hamilton, World Champion, tested the coronavirus positively during the week leading up to the race and had to miss it in compliance with the Bahrain and FIA protocol.
Hamilton was the first time that since his debut at the Australian Grand Prix in 2007 he didn’t take part in a Formula One race. George Russell replaced Hamilton with the driver Williams and protected Mercedes. The Formula One debut was made by Jack Aitken, who was at the same time participating in Formula 2.
The first of two training sessions were held in night conditions on Friday and Russell saw both Red Bull drivers Verstappen as well as Alex Albon at top of the timesheet for Mercedes.
On Friday night, the second practice session also saw Russell from Verstappen and Sergio Pérez at Racing Point the fastest.
The third training course was held on Saturday and Verstappen was in front of Pierre Gasly from Bottas and AlphaTauri.
Russell left the grid quickly to lead the Grand Prix around turn 1, and team-mate Valtteri Bottas took second place. Behind the two Mercedes, Leclerc, Verstappen, and Pérez, a 3-way struggle began.
As the three sailed, Leclerc turned four, which caused both to spin out in the path of Pérez. She slowed and widened the turn, but was losing traction, hitting the tyre’s wall at the outside of the turn, and seeing trouble ahead.
The incident led to a security vehicle. Terminal damage was caused to Verstappen and Leclerc. Pérez could rejoin and run back of the field following a shift in the tyre. After the race, he was penalized for his part in the incident for three grid spots in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
For round 7 the safety car was removed. Russell and Bottas ran up front, gradually broadening Russell’s leadership. McLaren, AlphaTauri, and the drivers of Renault were strong behind them close to the top of the line.
By lap 20, Pérez took 10th place in the bottom. All teams took their first pit stops on lap 50. The top 3 were Russell, Bottas, and Carlos Sainz Jr. of McLaren. For the fresh tyres Pérez took a second stop and ran in 9th place.
Nicholas Latifi withdrew from his Williams with an oil leak at turn 8 when the leaders ran lap 54, triggering a virtual security car (VSC). Various teams in third place and in the bottom for the pneumatic.
The VSC was brief and was shipped down the order under the green flag conditions, as Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo were caught. Pérez did not bounce up to third, with Esteban Ocon’s Renault in the fourth and Lance Stroll’s Racing Point in the fifth place during this safety car period.
As the safety car finished in lap 69, Russell, the only pilot among them on fresh pneums, threatened the top 4 drivers.
Russell was able to move Bottas, Stroll, and Ocon by lap 73, putting him second and ready to challenge Pérez to lead the race. In the 78th lap, Russell’s car was subjected to a left rear punch, which forced him to pitch a new set of pipes again.
Russell was able to win his first World Champs drivers points and a point for the fastest race lap during the closing stages of the race from the 14th to the 9th 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix .
The stewards subsequently concluded that Mercedes needed only a monetary fine because of Russell’s car’s pit stop errors.
After lost that role to McLaren in the previous race, Racing Point’s double-podium finish moved them back to third place in the Constructors Championship.