Monday, 30 November 2020 18:08

Lewis Hamilton won Bahrain Grand Prix from pole

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The race had to be restarted after more than an hour's delay for barrier repairs following a massive accident for Haas driver Romain Grosjean, from which he thankfully emerged with only minor injuries.

KEY MOMENTS

The re-start rules allowed teams to make repairs and change tyres. Only four drivers chose not to change tyres: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) and Lando Norris (McLaren).

After the re-start (which counted from lap three) the top nine were all on the medium tyre, with AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly the highest-placed driver on hard in 10th.

There was a safety car after the re-start. This had the effect of lengthening the stints – also considering the relatively cool temperatures of 25 degrees ambient and 26 degrees on track – by reducing thermal degradation as well as wear.

Hamilton won the race from pole with a two-stop strategy, re-starting on the same P Zero Yellow medium tyres as he had on the original grid, switching to used mediums once more after 19 laps, and finishing with a 22-lap stint on the P Zero White hard. He took the chequered flag under the safety car.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who finished second, adopted a different strategy, using White hard new tyres for two middle stints before finishing on used mediums. He was the only driver – apart from Haas's Kevin Magnussen – who changed tyres four times.

The three compounds selected for this year were one step softer than those seen in Bahrain last year, contributing to a higher than usual number of pit stops.

HOW EACH TYRE PERFORMED

HARD C2: Used by all but six of the finishers for the final stint, showing both pace and strength on the abrasive Bahrain asphalt. Gasly used two sets of hards  for every lap of the race apart from one, to finish sixth.

MEDIUM C3: Very much the compound of the day. Selected by most of the drivers (the top 10 on the grid went through Q2 with this compound) for the opening stint, with a good balance between performance and durability. Used by Hamilton for more than half the race, with Verstappen taking a final set of mediums 11 laps from the end to score the extra championship point for fastest lap of the race.

SOFT C4: McLaren's Carlos Sainz was the only driver to select the Red soft for the original start and he was joined by AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat for the second start. This performed well in the cool conditions, taking Sainz to P3 before his first stop and P5 at the finish from 15th on the original grid.

MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING

"First and obviously foremost, we're just relieved that Romain Grosjean seems to have only minor injuries after the massive accident on the opening lap. Everything else that happened today is irrelevant in comparison, and it speaks so much about modern safety standards that this accident was survivable. In terms of the race, strategies were obviously influenced by the lengthy interruptions, with the delayed race taking place later in the evening. This meant that the soft tyre performed more strongly than anticipated, as Carlos Sainz showed in his first stint after the re-start, while the medium tyre stints could be extended too. This was demonstrated by Hamilton, who completed two quite long stints on it before finishing on the hard. Throughout the race, we saw a variety of different strategies, with Gasly stopping twice for two sets of hard tyres on his way to P6, for example.

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