Who do you think will win the Sakhir Grand Prix?

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2020 Formula One Sakhir Grand Prix | Discussion Thread

Welcome to the discussion thread for the 2020 Formula One Sakhir Grand Prix.

There is a sense of déjà vu as the teams and fans gear up for our second race at the Bahrain International Circuit in as many weeks.

Of course, what is different this weekend to mark the first Sakhir Grand Prix, is the use of the Outer Circuit layout. This track configuration sees a lap length of just 3.543km, and with its high speeds, means that this weekend should see the shortest ever F1 lap in terms of absolute time taken. Current estimates are that pole will be in the low 50 second range.

The short lap length means that this weekend's race will see drivers take on 87 laps of the high-speed Outer Track layout. To add to the chaos, we will of course be seeing a couple of new faces on the grid, as well as one familiar face in a different car. Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of Emerson, will be replacing Haas' Romain Grosjean as he recovers from the injuries he sustained in last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton who is not allowed to race until he recovers from Covid-19, will be replaced by Mercedes junior driver, George Russell. This of course means that the Williams driver needs a replacement also, and this duty will fall to the Williams junior driver and 4-time F2 race winner, Jack Aitken.

So what will be interesting about this weekend? It should be fascinating to get a better read on the ability of the highly rated George Russell, as he gets his first taste of front-running machinery. Of course the last-minute nature of his loan to Mercedes means that the lack of proper preparation he'll have received should be taken into account, nonetheless it's hard to imagine that comparisons will not be made to both Valtteri Bottas as well as the absent Lewis Hamilton. It will also be interesting to see how the young talents filling in at Haas and Williams get on as they make their F1 debuts.

Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen probably head into this weekend as favourites, but with all of this week's chaos, and the extremely short lap times we'll be seeing, it's anyone's guess as to what the Sakhir Grand Prix might have in store for us!

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22. Software Engineer with experience in Formula One and Motorsport simulation.
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Charlie Lockwood

RaceDepartment Writer
Original poster
Feb 22, 2016
After such a chaotic week, and the very short circuit layout creating the possibility for an unpredictable qualifying and race, I've decided to make some bold predictions!

  • George Russell will go from having never scored a point in F1 to winning his first Grand Prix on Sunday.
  • Only three cars will finish the race on the lead lap.
  • One of this weekend's debutants will finish in the points.
Let me know if you agree or disagree, and give me a bold prediction of your own!

Enjoy the chaos this weekend, there will be a lot of it ;)
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Nick Hill

Oct 26, 2013
I can't imagine Bottas not running away with it. I think if Russell can keep it close, it will be a great showing for him. Bottas has 4 years with the team/car, that will be a lot of ground for Russell to make up in a weekend.

It'll be fun to see something a bit different in terms of the track, but I have a suspicion the race may prove to be really boring.

Jason Chamberlain

Mobile Chicane
Apr 26, 2020
I suspect Max will be too aggressive at some point and wreck out. I see Russell second behind Bottas and either a RP or McLaren 3rd. It's hard to say until we see what the conditions are like. I can see Perez managing tires to a podium if tire management is a strong factor again.

I realize that none of these predictions are particularly bold, but those are mine.


Sep 24, 2014
Come on Georgie this will be leisure time:D Well it actually may be the toughest race of his life as VB will be even more focused!

Charlie Lockwood

RaceDepartment Writer
Original poster
Feb 22, 2016
Big thanks to @Ruttman98 for kindly pointing out to me that I had in fact announced the wrong Fittipaldi brother would be racing this weekend. I'd like to pretend I was keeping you on your toes, but it seems this week has just been a bit much for me :roflmao:


Jun 25, 2009
Yes, in modern F1, you don't add gearbox whine to your sound samples, you add Driver whine.

I think both Bottas and Russell are under some pressure (even if just self inflicted) so I wouldn't be surprised if we see some serious mistakes amongst the two.

Its on way too late for me here in Melbourne so wont be watching anyway more than likely.
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Jun 26, 2011
What if Russell wins? How will Bottas look like when he gets beaten? And Hamilton, when someone else stepping in wins immediately in his car... proving what some people say all the time, that he wins most of his races because of his car and other drivers could do the same in that car. So... it may be better for Mercedes when Bottas wins. My vote went to Max, but if Russell grabs it, that would be great as well!:D
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Richard Hessels

Jul 23, 2008
Would be such stellar performance if Russell would end in at the podium on his first promotion.
Keeping that nervous Williams on track should make the Merc an much more relaxed drive for him.
As if you went from a tuned streetcar to a GTE.
Just imagining his anxiety at this time. I hope he can still catch some sleep.
All in for team Russell this weekend.

Sasha Jednak

Sasa Jednak
Mar 27, 2011
If Russell is really in group with young stars, I don’t see how he can not win. Of course excluding pit wall changing engine modes. Unless he is not part of that group of drivers...
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May 15, 2011
Honestly, both drivers should be concerned if Russell does really, really well.

It'll play up to the perception that Bottas is weak and even a number 2 and it'll seal his fate come the 2022 contracts. Meanwhile for Hamilton it would add an extra asterisk to his championships to the large amount of skeptics, given how he has already had the longest streak of utterly dominate cars for 6 seasons (if you minus the first halves of 2017 and 2018 to be generous).

Before I get berated, I'm not denying Hamilton's talent nor dismissing Bottas's good days, which there are enough to justify at least another year at Mercedes for the latter and to be put into the top 10 of all time for the former.


Dec 30, 2010
I voted for Jack Aitken thinking we will finally get someone that will get the most out of the car.


Sep 25, 2009
The Hollywood win: Russell
The realistic boring win: Verstappen
The realistic alternative boring win: Bottas
The French speaking fan (like me) Win: Leclerc
The out of nowhere win: Gasly
The revenge of Zapata win: Perez
The mission Impossible Win: Latifi
The Fun win: Ricciardo
The old fart win: Raikkonen
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Bryce Waard

Jul 13, 2020
I'd love to say that Bottas has learned from last week and will run away with the win this week, but we've all seen his starts this season and arguably, all the pressure is on him to win. The best car, the most experienced team mate and Lewis out. The less dramatic scenario is Bottas, then Verstappen/Russell, swap the positions as it may, but if Russell beats Bottas in almost any capacity, I think his ride is in jeopardy next year. It will be interesting to see where Mercedes focuses their support and strategy this week. Do they back the veteran, or pull all the stops to get Russell the win?

It's like when Marquez got hurt and the rest of the MotoGP riders were relevant again, it's going to be a fun week to watch!