George Russell swept Friday practice for his new Mercedes team after teammate Valtteri Bottas had several of his fastest laps deleted at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell — substituting for Lewis Hamilton this weekend after the world champion’s positive COVID test — was unable to improve on his FP1 time, but his lap of 54.713s was enough to keep him 0.128s clear at the head of the time sheet.

Bottas was on track to claim top spot with his first lap on the soft tire, but the Finn fell afoul of freshly instituted track limits at Turn 8, set at the outer edge of the curbs at the exit of the right-hander. His quickest time would have beaten Russell’s best by 0.2s before it and two subsequent laps were deleted for driving off the track, leaving him 11th.

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George Russell ended his debut timed session as a Mercedes driver at the top of the charts at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell, seconded from Williams to deputize for Lewis Hamilton while the world champion recovers from COVID-19, lapped the 2.202-mile ‘outer loop’ configuration of the Bahrain International Circuit in just 52.564s.

The 22-year-old Briton looked immediately at home in the black car. His feedback via team radio was focused mostly on adjusting to the functions and steering wheel controls of his new machine, and his only major problem appeared to be some shoulder discomfort as he squeezed into a cockpit designed for Hamilton, who stands approximately 4.3 inches shorter than his substitute.

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Romain Grosjean’s survival from his horror fireball smash in Bahrain is all down to motorsport’s pursuit of excellence.

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Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix after a fiery first-lap crash for Romain Grosjean saw the race suspended for more than an hour.

Grosjean’s Haas split in half and exploded into a fireball after smashing through the steel barrier at the outside of Turn 3 at approximately 85mph. The Frenchman had clipped the front of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri while traveling at around 150mph, sending him spearing off the track.

His car pierced the barrier, the halo cleaving its way through metal struts, and the momentum snapped the rear of the chassis from the survival cell. Spilt fuel from the broken car then ignited the cockpit, engulfing Grosjean in flames.

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Lewis Hamilton has controlled the Bahrain Grand Prix after a fireball smash had Romain Grosjean sent to hospital and the race suspended on lap one.

Grosjean’s Haas car left the track at around 240 kilometres per hour after tangling with Daniil Kvyat at turn three and slammed into the steel barriers, breaking in two.

The front section of the car wedged itself among the rails and burst into flames, trapping the Frenchman inside for 20 seconds until he could undo his belts and climb from the burning wreckage.

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Formula One returns to the familiar ground of Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but with softer tyres on offer than in previous years, the race will offer the opportunity for greater strategic play to teams and drivers.

Last year’s race was a nailed-on two-stop, but the predominance of wear from the abrasive asphalt over thermal degradation meant the hard C1 was largely eschewed for the more performative medium C2 and soft C3.

This year, however, Pirelli has gone a step softer by bringing the C4 as the soft. This to an extent has changed the complexion of the weekend.

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Lewis Hamilton is on track to take a century of pole positions this season after recording his 98th qualifying triumph at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver set a new track record to beat teammate Valtteri Bottas to pole by 0.289 seconds for Mercedes’s 11th front row lockout of the year.

Hamilton already holds the record for most pole positions in Formula One, and with two rounds remining after this weekend’s race the Briton could raise the bar to 100 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a fortnight.

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Lewis Hamilton has taken his 98th career pole with an assured performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 2020 champion-elect’s time of 1m27.264s was a new track record for this layout of the Bahrain International Circuit and more than 0.289s quicker than teammate Valtteri Bottas could muster to deliver a Mercedes front-row lockout.

Hamilton, who already guaranteed himself the championship with victory at the Turkish Grand Prix two weeks ago, said he felt liberated in the car with title already secured.

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Max Verstappen led the FP3 time sheet after a quiet final hour of practice ahead of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Dutchman broke Lewis Hamilton’s Friday practice streak with a time of 1m28.355s, the fastest lap of the weekend so far. He did so despite his Red Bull RB16 appearing to suffer from rear wing instability while using DRS, a problem his mechanics will seek to rectify in the two-hour break before qualifying.

Notwithstanding the problem, Verstappen’s time was enough to beat Hamilton to top spot by 0.263s.

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Lewis Hamilton ended Friday practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix as the fastest man in a night session interrupted by red flags for an Alex Albon crash.

Hamilton lowered his pre-sunset benchmark by less than a tenth to 1m28.971s with lap on fresh softs in the final 15 minutes. It was enough to beat Max Verstappen to top spot by 0.347s, although the Dutchman’s best lap was logged on medium tires after he had been unable make gains on the softs.

Valtteri Bottas was third, 0.018s behind Verstappen on his own soft tire run early in the evening.

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of opening practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. The champion-elect’s best time of 1m29.033s was 0.449s quicker than Bottas and almost a full second ahead of the next-best car, Sergio Perez’s Racing Point.

The Mexican is leading the way in the battle for fourth in the drivers standings and forging a path for Racing Point, which heads the midfield in the battle for third.

Midfield rival Carlos Sainz was just 0.18s further back for McLaren, the two teams split by only six points.

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Lewis Hamilton has equalled Michael Schumacher’s seven-title record with one of his all-time great drives.

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Lewis Hamilton won his seventh world title with a champion drive, recovering from sixth and almost 25 seconds off the lead in the first third of the race to dominate the field by half a minute come the chequered flag.

There were conditions made for Hamilton, but not necessarily his Mercedes car, which had struggled on the slippery surface all weekend. Rather than machinery, this was a win founded on patience and experience, allowing Hamilton’s pure ability to shine on a day he equalled Michael Schumacher’s championship record.

And it wasn’t only the Briton who shone in the difficult weather — those who trusted their gut tended to win big in a race that rewarded nous and instinct, making F1’s Turkey return the season’s most memorably race.

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Lewis Hamilton has equalled Michael Schumacher’s record seven world championships with a masterclass of mixed-conditions racing at a thrilling Turkish Grand Prix.

The Briton had qualified sixth but only had to prevent teammate Valtteri Bottas from outscoring him by eight points to seal the deal with three rounds to spare.

In the end his finishing position mattered naught, with Bottas spinning out of the points at the very first corner in soaking wet conditions as he attempted to avoid friendly fire between the Renault drivers.

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Lewis Hamilton claimed a record-equaling seventh world championship with a perfectly judged victory at a rainy Turkish Grand Prix.

The Briton started from sixth on the grid and struggled to improve his lot early in the race as he grappled with the full wet tire and a Mercedes car befuddled by the cool conditions and slick track. But after a switch to the intermediate tire and as a dry line began to form around Istanbul Park, Hamilton rediscovered the sublime mixed-conditions touch for which he’s so renowned.

The Briton’s win was sealed by a superbly managed 50-lap second stint to avoid the second stop required by so many of his rivals, guaranteeing him an unassailable lead of 31s over the field when he took the checkered flag.

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F1 back in Turkey for first time in almost a decade, but the 2020 grand prix is unlikely to bear much resemblance to 2011 — and not just because polesitter Lance Stroll would’ve been 12 years old last time out.

For one, the cars have changed substantially. Much faster, with more power and more downforce, the expected lap times ahead of the weekend were for somewhere in the vicinity of five seconds quicker, taking into account Pirelli conservatively brought its hardest compounds to Istanbul.

But the most significant change is the track itself. The circuit has been completely resurfaced in anticipation of F1’s return, but the decision was made so late — the race was only confirmed in August, after all — that works finished just 10 days before the on-track action commenced.

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Lance Stroll has claimed his maiden Formula One pole position for the Racing Point team in a thrilling wet-weather qualifying session at the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul.

The 22-year-old Canadian staked his claim in enthralling fashion. Heavy rain stretched the session to more than two hours, and even as the weather cleared the standing water combined with the oily bitumen of the freshly laid Istanbul Park circuit to make the track extremely slippery and hard to judge from the cockpit.

Stroll is the first non-Mercedes driver to start from pole this season, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton and title contender Valtteri Bottas starting sixth and ninth respectively in a car that struggled in the conditions.

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Lance Stroll will be the first non-Mercedes driver to start from pole this season after a perfectly judged performance in an extraordinary two-hour qualifying marathon for the Turkish Grand Prix.

In treacherously wet and slippery conditions the Canadian was flawless under pressure to beat Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by 0.29s.

Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas qualified sixth and ninth respectively.

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