2020 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix Preview

This weekend sees Formula 1 return to action with the first of two races to be held in Bahrain. The series will be joined by Formula 2 which returns after around a month since it was last in action.

Formula 2

Mick Schumacher heads the championship going into the weekend having finished in the points in the last 12 races. It means the German has a 22 point advantage over Callum Ilott who has been classified in the points in 10 of the last 12 races.

There is a 22 point gap between Ilott and third placed Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese driver is only two points ahead of Christian Lundgaard and seven ahead of Robert Shwartzman and Nikita Mazepin as the four drivers battle over third in the championship. Tsunoda has finished in the points in eight of the previous 12 races compared to Lundgaard’s six, Shwartzman’s six and Mazepin’s nine across the same 12 race period.

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Louis Deletraz is the first driver behind the quartet battling over third. The Swiss driver is 18 points behind Shwartzman and Mazepin and is two and a half points ahead of Guanyu Zhou who finally managed to claim his maiden victory in Formula 2 last time out in Sochi.

Zhou’s victory came in the shortened sprint race which was stopped prematurely after a big collision between Luca Ghiotto and Jack Aitken. Thanks to countback the two were classified fourth and fifth in the sprint race. Ghiotto lies ninth in the championship heading into the first Bahrain weekend, 15 and a half points behind Zhou and is 23 and a half points ahead of Dan Ticktum. As for Aitken he goes to Bahrain twelfth in the championship 32 points behind Felipe Drugovich and nine points ahead of Marcus Armstrong.

Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton enters the weekend having clinched his seventh Drivers’ title in the previous round in Turkey. The Briton goes to Bahrain having won five of the last six races.

Valtteri Bottas is second in the championship and is 110 points behind Hamilton and 27 ahead of Max Verstappen in third. Bottas endured a difficult race in Turkey which led to his third non points score of the season.

The race in Turkey wasn’t great for Verstappen either who qualified second but ended up finishing sixth, this despite having a variety of incidents during the race, one of which included a spin behind the Racing Point of Sergio Perez.

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Speaking of Perez, the Mexican is fourth in the championship after claiming second at Istanbul. He is three points ahead of Charles Leclerc and four ahead of Daniel Ricciardo going into this weekend. With the title now clinched by Hamilton it is the fight for fourth in the Drivers’ championship that will hopefully get more attention in the remaining races of the 2020 season. It is currently between Perez, Leclerc and Ricciardo as the driver directly behind the trio, Carlos Sainz, is 21 points behind Ricciardo and therefore needs a big result if not two in order to be in with a chance of taking fourth.

The same can be said for Sainz’s teammate, Lando Norris, who is only one point behind the Spaniard heading into the weekend. Sainz has finished inside the points in the last four races while Norris has finished inside the top ten in the last two. The battle between the two McLarens over seventh may also end up involving Alexander Albon who is only four points behind Norris and five behind Sainz. Albon put in a good performance in Turkey, despite a spin meaning he had to settle for seventh, as the Thai driver continues to try and retain his Red Bull seat for 2021.

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Pierre Gasly is directly behind Albon in the championship, seven points separates the two with Gasly having failed to score points in the two races prior to this weekend. Despite this Gasly has scored points in three of the last five races compared to Albon’s two across the same period. The Frenchman has a four point advantage over Lance Stroll who is directly behind him in the championship.

Stroll starred in Turkey claiming pole position and going on to lead for over 30 laps before eventually losing pace after a pit stop and ultimately finishing down in ninth. It will be important for Stroll to try and build on his Turkey performance this weekend to prove that he can perform at a high level consistently, not just in low grip conditions.

Esteban Ocon is twelfth in the championship and after being involved in a couple of incidents during the race was unable to claim points in Turkey, finishing just outside in eleventh. He has a seven point advantage over Sebastian Vettel heading into the first race in Bahrain after Vettel managed to take advantage of the tricky conditions in Turkey to claim his first podium finish of the season. It also means that the German has a seven point advantage over Daniil Kvyat who is directly behind him in the championship. The Russian was unable to build on his Emilia Romagna performance, where he finished a season best fourth, as Kvyat ultimately finished twelfth at Istanbul.

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In the Constructors’ Championship the focus will hopefully continue to be on the battle for third which is currently held by Racing Point. They have a five point advantage going into the weekend over nearest rival McLaren.

Renault are then fifth, 18 points behind Racing Point after the French manufacturer was only able to score one point from the Turkish Grand Prix weekend while Racing Point bagged 20 and McLaren scored 14.

After a 3-4 finish in Turkey Ferrari enter the weekend also with a chance of claiming third as they find themselves only six points behind Renault. The Maranello based team are 24 points behind Racing Point and have a 41 point advantage over AlphaTauri who are directly behind them in the championship.

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