2020 Sakhir Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Too often people harp on the processional races in F1, which quite frankly happens often throughout the sport's history. But plenty of times there is plenty to be entertained by. And sometimes, your system gets overloaded, like this time.
EVENT: This is the 48th unique name for a grand prix as a world championship event.
TRACK: This layout showed that perhaps it's not the car designs which negate passing opportunities, but the track designs.
QUALIFYING: Bottas comes through to beat the "infiltrator," Russell just misses out in an impressive second, Leclerc pulls off one of the most amazing laps of the season, while Vettel continues to stay in Q2, Kvyat also surprises again, while the biggest surprise was how clean and essentially traffic free qualifying turned out to be.
RACE: Raise your hand if you actually breathed during that race. A frenetic pace throughout.
START: Russell puts aside his poor start reputation, Bottas bogs down the field, then chaos ensues as Leclerc overcommits and locks up, punts Perez, Verstappen overreacts, and the whole race complexion changes.
PEREZ: Last week he had a podium spot in the bag until his power plant failed. This week Sergio got knocked around on the first lap yet still managed to end up on the top step of the podium. Long overdue and well deserved.
STROLL: Another podium for the much maligned Lance.
RACING POINT: They really better hope -- pray -- that Vettel comes through for them next year, or they are going to look mighty stupid.
RUSSELL: What an epic debut on Mercedes. Epic. Immediately fast. Just missed pole. Dominated the race. Crushed his teammate. Then had the victory stolen ... twice.
BOTTAS: Valtteri is going to have to do the most soul searching he has ever done in his life.
MERCEDES: How to bone over both their drivers in one epic blunder.
OCON: And out of nowhere, there's Esteban getting a second. Good on him.
SAINZ: Continues to come on strong down the stretch.
NORRIS: While Lando is regressing.
ALBON: When Perez gave Alex an in your face outside pass, that had to have been a omen for Alex.
VERSTAPPEN: That victory very easily could have been Max's.
RED BULL: Do you want to score points or not? Let us know by how you decide your 2021 driver lineup.
KVYAT: Daniil is certainly going out in style.
VETTEL: One more time -- was Sebastian in the race?
LECLERC: You should have heeded that message your teammate gave you about last week's start. This one was totally your fault, Charles.
AITKEN: Ironic, the driver who took Russell's seat at Williams started the chain of events which led to Russell's victory to slip away.
LATIFI: Finally beat his teammate in qualifying. But it doesn't mean much this weekend.
FITTIPALDI: Though not from the same family line, this is the first time three generations competed in F1. Brothers Emerson and Wilson, Wilson's son Christian, and now Emmo's grandson, Pietro. And if want you to stretch it even further, Max Papis married into the family, making it five F1 drivers of the Fittipaldi clan.
GROSJEAN: Fantastic to see Romain back in the paddock. Unfortunately, he won't be healed in time for Abu Dhabi, and thus his F1 career is most likely over.
FIA: Leave it up to the FIA to open a can of worms. They're allowing Fernando Alonso to participate in the young driver test at Abu Dhabi. Which of course set off a domino effect amongst other teams, with Ferrari wanting to have Carlos Sainz and McLaren wanting to have Daniel Ricciardo to particpate. Good luck dealing with that mess, FIA.
F2: Mick Schumacher entered the weekend 14 points ahead of Callum Ilott. Schumacher left 14 points ahead with the championship. In the feature race, Mick drove agressively yet conservatively, finishing one spot behind Ilott. However, fastest lap bonus points gave both drivers the same amount of points. For the sprint race, both drivers finished out of the points.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Exhilarating.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 190 -- The number of F1 starts it took Sergio Perez to win his first race, a record.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The last time a Mexican won was the 1970 Belgian GP at Spa, the last time the original circuit was used, when Pedro Rodriguez won his second F1 race (his first was the 1967 South African GP), the only other Mexican to win a GP. Rodriguez qualified sixth in a BRM. Rodriguez took the lead on the fourth lap, and except for a brief moment, led the rest of the way beating Chris Amon (March-Ford) by 1.1 seconds. Jean-Pierre Beltoise finished third in a Matra. The weekend was overshadowed by Bruce McLaren's death while testing his Can Am car at Goodwood the Tuesday before.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Mercedes tweet about their conversation with George Russell before the race: GR63 "At the pit stop please just remind me we are the first box" Will do, George!
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Sergio Perez about winning his first race, "I hope I'm not dreaming. I have dreamt this moment."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: George Russell after the race, "I don't know what to say." Neither do we, George, except to repeat what Toto Wolff said, "A new star is born. The sky is the limit."
SCHEDULE: What a letdown going from the thrilling layout at Sakhir to the usually boring Yas Marina Circuit. However, appreciate it because it's the last race of a season we were lucky to ever have in the first place.
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