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Lewis Hamilton will start from his 98th career pole position alongside teammate Valtteri Bottas at the Bahrain Grand Prix in pursuit of his 11th win of the season. Join The Roar from 1:10am (AEDT) for live blog coverage of the race in Sakhir.
Three races remain in what has been an unprecedented year for Formula One, and while the world championships have already been decided, there is pride at stake and the minor placings are to still hotly contested.
Bahrain is typically visited near the start of the season, but on the COVID-affected 2020 calendar it forms the beginning of a Middle Eastern triple-header. This morning’s race is the first of two races to be contested at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The 5.4-kilometre circuit in the desert has become a mainstay of the championship since 2004 and a favourite since transitioning to a night race in 2014, that year’s race an epic wheel-to-wheel battle between former Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Cooler conditions under lights typically favour Mercedes, and it is difficult to go beyond Lewis Hamilton in what would be a fourth Bahrain victory in such a dominant season for the now seven-time world champion.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas will be fighting for pride in these final races, while failed championship rival in Max Verstappen will vie for Red Bull Racing’s first victory in Bahrain since 2013.
Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid, with Hamilton on pole ahead of teammate Bottas. Only six of the last 15 winners in Bahrain have come from pole position, which might give the Finn some hope.
There’s slight hope too for Red Bull Racing, which locked out the second row of the grid, Verstappen ahead of Alex Albon. It may finally give the team some strategic options in order to challenge the dominant Mercedes cars.
All cars that qualified in the top ten managed to get through to Q3 on the medium tyre, which will therefore be the rubber they start the race on. The soft compound suffers high degradation here, but even the medium and hard compounds may struggle if stretched in their stints.
In the battle for third in the constructors standings just 24 points separate Racing Point, McLaren, Renault and Ferrari. Sergio Perez leads this contingent on the grid in fifth ahead of both Renault drivers, but the two Ferrari cars and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz failed to make the top ten.
Can Hamilton be stopped in Bahrain? Or will the champion continue his charge towards a record-equalling 13th win for the season by year’s end?
Tune in for live blog coverage on The Roar from 1:10am AEDT for another exciting race under lights at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lights out: 1:10am (AEDT)
Venue: Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
Previous winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), 4. Alexander Albon (Red Bull Racing)
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point), 6. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
7. Esteban Ocon (Renault), 8. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
9. Lando Norris (McLaren), 10. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri)
11. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 12. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
13. Lance Stroll (Racing Point), 14. George Russell (Williams)
15. Carlos Sainz (McLaren), 16. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
17. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), 18. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
19. Romain Grosjean (Haas), 20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)