Hamilton takes his tenth pole of the season, Red Bull reach 450 Q3 appearances and Ferrari fail to reach Q3 in Bahrain for the first time. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix!
HAMILTON ON POLE
Lewis Hamilton continued to close in on a century of poles with pole position at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. This was his 98th pole and a record-equalling third pole at the Bahrain International Circuit. Both he and Sebastian Vettel have had three poles at the track.
Mercedes record their sixth pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix, overtaking Ferrari as the team with the most poles at the event.
This was Hamilton’s tenth pole position of 2020. Including Hamilton in 2020, there have been only sixteen occasions where a driver has taken ten or more poles in a single season – this was the fifth time that Hamilton has achieved the feat.
Hamilton ended the curse of Free Practice 2 at the Bahrain Grand Prix. In the fifteen previous races at the track, the driver who was fastest in FP2 had never previously gone on to take pole position.
With Valtteri Bottas second, Mercedes locked-out the front row in Bahrain for the fourth time. It’s the twelfth time this year that both Mercedes have qualified on the front row (though Hamilton’s penalty in Austria means that the Bahrain Grand Prix will be the eleventh time both cars have started on the front row in 2020). For Hamilton, this will be a record-breaking seventh front row start in Bahrain.
Hamilton’s pole margin was 0.001 seconds less than the margin by which Lance Stroll took pole for the last race. The 1990 Spanish Grand Prix – where Gerhard Berger took pole with a margin 0.001s less than the margin by which Riccardo Patrese took pole at the 1990 Portuguese Grand Prix – is the only other time this has occurred in F1. Hamilton is the third driver to take pole by 0.289 seconds – and the first driver to do so since 1985. Elio de Angelis took pole by this margin at the 1985 Canadian Grand Prix, as did Ayrton Senna at the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix.
THE TOP TEN
Qualifying in second place, the driver of car number 77 reached Q3 for a 77th consecutive race. Valtteri Bottas is the first driver to reach Q3 at 77 successive races.
Max Verstappen qualified in third place, which is the first time that he has qualified inside the top four at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It was Red Bull’s first top three result in qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix since 2014. Verstappen is the first driver to be fastest in Free Practice 3 who has failed to go on and qualify on the front row since he did so himself at the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Team-mate Alex Albon qualified one position behind, albeit six tenths slower, equalling his best-ever qualifying result. Albon also qualified fourth at Mugello and Istanbul Park. It was Albon’s first Q3 appearance in Bahrain.
With both Verstappen and Perez reaching Q3, Red Bull become only the second team who have recorded 450 Q3 appearances since the current qualifying system was introduced in 2006. Ferrari are the other team to have recorded 450 Q3 appearances, reaching the milestone at the 2019 British Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez last reached Q3 in Bahrain way back in 2014, but qualified fifth for the 2020 race. His fifth place equals both his and his team’s best-ever qualifying result at the Bahrain International Circuit.
On his seventh Bahrain Grand Prix appearance, Daniel Ricciardo maintained his record of never being out-qualified by a team-mate at the event. He qualified in sixth place, with team-mate Esteban Ocon only one position behind in seventh. That’s Ocon’s best qualifying result at the circuit.
For the first time at the Bahrain Grand Prix, both of the Red Bull junior team’s cars reached Q3. Prior to 2020, the former Toro Rosso team had only three Q3 appearances at the circuit (Daniel Ricciardo in 2012, Carlos Sainz in 2015 and Pierre Gasly in 2018). While Gasly qualified eighth, out-qualifying his team-mate for a sixth consecutive race, Daniil Kvyat reached Q3 in Bahrain for the first time in his career and qualified tenth.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris maintained their 100% Q3 appearance rates at the circuit. The list of drivers who hold this accolade is quite short: Paul di Resta, Juan Pablo Montoya and Christian Klien are the only other drivers in the club. With ninth place, Norris bettered his qualifying position from last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
OUT IN Q2
Both Ferrari drivers were eliminated in Q2, making 2020 the first time that neither Ferrari car has appeared in Q3 at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Prior to this weekend, there had been only two occasions where a Ferrari driver had failed to qualifying in the top ten at the event – Rubens Barrichello qualified fifteenth in 2005, while Felipe Massa was fourteenth in 2012.
This was the first time Ferrari have had both cars eliminated in Q2 at consecutive races, as well as only the second time that Ferrari have failed to reach Q3 with either car at two successive events. The only other time the latter has occurred was earlier this season, at the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix.
Sebastian Vettel failed to qualify in the top five at the Bahrain Grand Prix for the first time since 2014. In addition to 2014 and 2020, 2008 is the only other season in which Vettel has not qualified in the top three at the Bahrain International Circuit.
George Russell out-qualified his team-mate for a 36th consecutive race and reached Q2 for the ninth time in his career. Russell’s fourteenth place marked Williams’ 190th Q2 elimination.
A rear brake failure meant that Carlos Sainz was unable to set a lap time in Q2. Fifteenth is Sainz’s worst qualifying result of the season so far, and marks the first time that he has failed to reach Q3 at two consecutive races since the 2019 Austrian and British Grands Prix.
OUT IN Q1
Alfa Romeo (formerly Sauber) saw both cars eliminated in Q1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix for the third time in the last five years. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi reached Q3 at the Turkish Grand Prix, making this only the seventh occasion where a team has recorded a double Q1 exit having had both cars in Q3 at the previous race.
Occasions when a team has recorded a double Q1 exit having had both cars in Q3 at the previous race.
- 2009 Australian Grand Prix: Toro Rosso
- 2009 Monaco Grand Prix: Toyota
- 2009 Singapore Grand Prix: Force India
- 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix: McLaren
- 2014 British Grand Prix: Williams
- 2017 Austrian Grand Prix: Williams
- 2017 Singapore Grand Prix: Williams
- 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix: Alfa Romeo
With both Raikkonen and Giovinazzi out in Q1, the former Sauber team become the first team to have recorded 180 Q1 exits since the start of 2006. This was the first time Raikkonen has been eliminated in Q1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix since 2006. 2012 is the last time that the Finn failed to reach Q3 here.
Haas saw both of their cars eliminated in Q1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix for the first time. Romain Grosjean recorded his worst Bahrain qualifying performance with nineteenth, while Kevin Magnussen failed to reach Q3 at the track for the first time since 2017. Magnussen is only the fifth driver, after Adrian Sutil, Marcus Ericsson, Pastor Maldonado and Takuma Sato to record three Q1 exits at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
For the third time in the last four races, Nicholas Latifi qualified in last place. This is the third season in a row that a Williams driver has qualified in 20th position at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.