The Bahrain FP1 and FP2 sessions had a different feel to them thanks to the teams having to use 2021 tyres from Pirelli as part of their running. Though they were optional in FP1, each driver had to set six timed laps on the next season’s tyres in FP2. Mercedes went above and beyond the six-lap stipulation as they spent their second session gathering data for next years car.
Though neither session was as eventful as the double red-flagged practice of Formula 2, F1 did see a red flag thanks to a vehicle issue also. Alex Albon couldn’t find any grip on the exit of the final corner of the Bahrain circuit in FP2. His RB16 flailed wildly and sent Albon heavily into the barriers.
With parts of the Red Bull all over the track, the stoppage allowed the marshalls to clean up the mess while Christian Horner no double used the time to consider his options for 2021, such as Perez (in a Red Bull) or Tsunoda (in an AlphaTauri).
However, with Yuki Tsunoda spinning out of F2 qualifying, things might not be as simple as this morning., The Japanese Carlin driver is now on the back foot to score the points needed to finish fourth in the championship and qualify for a super licence.
Friday was a busy day for Roy Nissany of Trident too. The Israeli stood in for George Russell in FP1. Nissany once again was piloting the FW43 for the Williams team. He did so whilst also fulfilling his F2 duties and was only three-tenths down on Williams regular Nicholas Latifi.
Latifi won the opening F2 round at Bahrain in 2019 and was in third in the following sprint race so is clearly no slouch at the Sakhir circuit. While Nissany will be encouraged by his pace over his 27 laps, especially compared to his last season’s Formula 2 runner-up, he starts tomorrow’s F2 feature race down in 11th.
Newly crowned (or is that re-crowned?) champion, Lewis Hamilton was the man topping both sessions though. Bottas finished second in FP1, and third in FP2 as he struggled to match his teammate’s pace in under the Bahrain floodlights.
The standout performer of the day, aside from a dog that caused the second red flag of FP2, was Sergio Perez. The Mexican was the fastest non-Mercedes for the first Bahrain GP practice and again led the “best of the rest” pack behind Hamilton, Verstappen, and Bottas in FP2.
F1 Bahrain GP FP1 Results
F1 Bahrain GP FP2 Results