SEN Drive, 5 January: Australian Grand Prix Postponement

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

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I review the action from the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix with freelance journalist Abhishek Takle.

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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I preview the upcoming Australian and Bahrain grands prix with last year’s podcast guests Peter Anderson from theredline.com.au and Rodney Gordon from Superlicense F1 Podcast.

Alex Albon aims to win the 2020 championship, Lewis Hamilton finally loses something and Rob soft launches his experimental podcast Fatso Drive-through.