Valtteri Bottas managed to save the furniture with a pole in the Bahrain outdoor circuit. Pressed by the debutant George Russell, who passed his hand over his face in the first free practice on Friday, knew how to rebuild this Saturday, both in the third free practice and in qualifying, beating the British in the after rounds. Knock on the Finn’s table, who takes this grand prize as a revalidation in which Russell is presented as the candidate to assume his seat at Mercedes. The pressure was so suffocating that even Toto Wolff he was forced to step out to reassure Bottas and ensure that the absence of Hamilton did not become a test to verify the convenience of continuing to trust the Finn. «I am happy but it was not my best classification. Let’s hope to see a fun race tomorrow, ”explained the Mercedes driver. Russell, for his part, explained that he was still living in a cloud since last Monday he was told that he would sit in Hamilton’s car. «I’m happy, it was very intense. I’m getting used to it because it felt strange. I have had to unlearn everything I did at Williams and learn again at Mercedes. On the last lap we did well but it is a bit heartbreaking not having Russell.
All predictions were fulfilled in Q1, with both Haas (Magnussen and Fitipaldi) and the two Williams (Latifi and Aitken) eliminated, accompanied by an Alfa Romeo, Raikkonen’s. Alexander Albon (Red Bull) and Lance Stroll (Racing Point) narrowly escaped in a dominated first round dominated by Bottas, Verstappen and Russell. A provisional podium without surprises except because the British, a substitute for a Hamilton confined by Covid, is the pfirst time racing in a Mercedes this season. Although he is a silver arrow tester, the Williams rider has shown his great skill all weekend. Carlos Sainz set the twelfth fastest time.
Q2 generated different surprises. Esteban Ocon (Renault), Alexander Albon (Red Bull) and Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) were left out, accompanied by Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo and Lando Norris’ McLaren. ORna escabechina that left Mercedes as the only team with two cars to fight for pole position in the last phase of qualifying. Max Verstappen set the best time in this round, followed by Checo Pérez and Valtteri Bottas. Good news for Carlos Sainz, just behind the favorites and ahead of Russell. Bottas finally won by 26 thousandths, ahead of Russell and chased in the second row, as almost always by Verstappen. Carlos Sainz will start in eighth place.