Proving that Lewis Hamilton has won so many races and championships because he has the best car, George Russell (shown smiling ear-to-ear above), filling in this weekend for a Covid-stricken Hamilton, turned the fastest lap in opening practice for the Sakhir GP.
Russell never drove the car before, but it is so superior it was able to step in and immediately go fastest with a lap of 54.546s in his #63 Mercedes.
Bottas could only manage 4th best time behind the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.
Elsewhere, it was a good session for the AlphaTauri pair who came home fifth and sixth with Kvyat edging Gasly by by just over a tenth. They headed the midfield – and could be one to watch this weekend.
Not to get ahead of ourselves, there is plenty of time to go and Bottas will get on top of his set up issues but in a week of extraordinary stories, Russell going from the very back to the very front of the grid seems a fitting way to kick off proceedings.
The track was as quick as expected, with times down in the 54’s already. With the sections of the track not used last week likely to rubber in and speed up, not to mention qualifying modes perfected and fuel loads reduced – just how quick with this lot go tomorrow in Q3?
Practice 1 Results
|1||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG||0:54.546|
|2||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||0:54.722|
|3||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||0:54.811|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes AMGne Team||0:54.868|
|5||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||0:55.011|
|6||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||0:55.166|
|7||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault F1 Team||0:55.273|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||0:55.281|
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault F1 Team||0:55.379|
|10||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||0:55.449|
|11||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point F1 Team||0:55.558|
|12||Sergio Perez||MEX||BWT Racing Point F1 Team||0:55.716|
|13||Carlos Sainz||SPA||McLaren F1 Team||0:55.757|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen||0:55.738|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen||0:55.858|
|16||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||0:56.078|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||0:56.130|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||0:56.764|
|19||Pietro Fittipaldi||BRA||Haas F1 Team||0:57.077|
|20||Jack Aitken||GBR||Williams Racing||0:57.187|