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Which driver wins the Sakhir GP 2020?
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2020 Sakhir Grand Prix
The disruption to the F1 season caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the FIA including new and unique tracks to the calendar in order to fill it. The Sakhir Grand Prix will take place at the regular Bahrain International Circuit but will use the ‘Outer Circuit’ for the very first time.
It will be held on the 6th December.
The Bahrain outer circuit is as close to an oval as an F1 World Championship race has come in a long time, but crucially it is not an oval. It instead is more like a square which contains 3 very long straights with 3 very heavy breaking zones at the ends of the straights. The ‘4th side’ is a not quite straight but still a very fast more winding section.
At just 3.543 that track will become the second shortest on the F1 calendar behind only the legendary Monaco and the race will feature 87laps.
This is a bit of a step into the unknown for modern F1 cars as they have never faced anything like this track before. It will undoubtedly favour cars that can produce the highest speed as they will be full throttle for most of it but keeping the engine cool and tyres warm whilst going flat out in a straight line for the majority of the lap will be a crucial and untested element.
The Mercedes car has been dominant this season, and their engine is by far superior to anything else out there. Their number 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton - which also is the odds favourite to be awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2020 - will likely have already won the World Championship by this point and historically after winning the Championship Hamilton eases off slightly, which might leave the door wide open for Valteri Bottas.
Bottas is Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes but has been outclassed by his British counterpart all season long. With many saying that he does not deserve the seat next year Bottas will be highly motivated to prove the doubters wrong and take a few more wins before the season is out.
Red Bull may have earmarked this race as the one that they finally bring the challenge to Mercedes. Max Verstappen has been gaining on the Mercs all season, and with the unique nature of the track might fancy his chances of springing a surprise. With the track being mainly open straights and less tricky sections, raw driver pace may account for slightly less so Alex Albon can be expected to be closer to his teammate Verstappen than he has been so far this season.
The racing point always looks mightily quick in a straight line, so their drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll are in with a big chance of at least a podium at this race.
On face value it does not seem like this track will suit Renault, McLaren or Ferrari for various reasons so a podium for either of these 3 would be a bit of a shock.