What the teams said – Race day in Bahrain

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Re-start during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain


Hamilton equalled his best-ever season by recording his 11th win of the year – and in truth it never looked in doubt. He led off the line twice and was unchallenged in an imperious display, with that all-time record of 13 wins in a season coming closer to being equalled by the reigning world champion. As for Bottas, it just wasn’t his day. A slow puncture early on was a mystery, but he seemed to struggle for pace from there on in, and although he made it back to the points after dropping to last, he couldn’t come close to matching his team mate today.

Lewis Hamilton, 1st

"Today is a reminder for all of us that this is a dangerous sport. It was shocking to see Romain's accident and I'm just so grateful that the halo did its job and credit to the FIA medical team who were straight on the scene. For Romain to be able to walk away from an accident like that just shows what an incredible job F1 and the FIA have done in their quest for safety. Physically it was such a demanding race. Max pushed me all the way and he had a lot of speed today. I was struggling a little bit with the car sliding around, but I just had enough to be able to respond to Max's quick laps when it mattered. I was a little cautious how it would play out at the end of the race once Max pitted, but I'm so thankful to my team because they made the right calls all day on the strategy. What a privilege it is to be able to get another result like this."

Valtteri Bottas, 8th

"I'm so glad that Romain is okay - that's really the most important thing today and I'm very relieved he was able to escape such a big accident. I had a puncture at the restart of the race; I don't think there was any contact and I didn't see any debris either, so I'm not quite sure what caused it. I tried fighting my way through the field, but we had a bigger wing than most of the others, so it wasn't easy to get through the train of cars. At the very end, I had yet another puncture, but fortunately that was under the Safety Car and I didn't lose any more positions. I'll need to look at what I can do better next week; the track layout will be different, but a lot of the characteristics will also stay the same, so there's certainly a lot to learn from this week. Hopefully, I'll have better luck next weekend."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"First of all, I want to say thank you to the FIA and F1 for having given us these incredibly safe racing cars. Today's events show that the introduction of the halo was tremendously important. I also want to thank the marshals as well as Dr. Ian Roberts and Alan van der Merwe who helped Romain escape the scene. As far as I know, Romain is okay, and I wish him the best possible recovery and I hope his family is alright despite having to witness these awful pictures. For our team, it was another bittersweet race; on the one hand, I'm very happy for the team and Lewis. The car showed strong performance today and the strategy team was on its A game. Unfortunately, Valtteri had more bad luck this weekend with his puncture. We need to find a way to break the pattern of him losing races for reasons that are beyond his control. Valtteri could have won a few more races this year and it's just a shame that he needs to cope with these results. But it will make him stronger and now he just needs to give his best in these last two races and secure P2 in the championship. I have no doubt that next year will be very strong for him. I'm also sorry for the disappointment of Racing Point, but happy that Lance escaped unhurt. We need to analyse what happened on Sergio's car and investigate to make sure we can avoid these DNFs in the future."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"It was a huge relief to see that Romain was okay. The incident looked terrifying, but thankfully he was able to get out safely. It's good that the FIA will review all areas to find out what lessons can be learnt. Well done also to Alan and Ian in the medical car along with the marshals, it was a very rapid and brave response from all of them. Congratulations to Lewis, he managed the race brilliantly and was just about able to keep it under control, but the extra Hard tyre that Red Bull carried into the race left us with a bit of a weakness. The final stint was a bit awkward as there were moments in the race where a Safety Car would have been difficult to manage; however, by the time the Safety Car did come towards the end, we knew the race wouldn't restart so we kept Lewis out on his old tyres. Valtteri had more than his fair share of bad luck; he had a poor getaway from the grid which just looks like it was low grip on the P2 spot, there wasn't anything obviously wrong with the start itself. He then picked up a front right puncture on the opening lap after the restart, so we had no choice but to stop and that dropped him to the back. The recovery from there was a bit difficult, we're clearly carrying a bigger wing than most and it was tricky to get through the cars quickly. To top his day off, he picked up another puncture towards the end of the race, so he'll no doubt be looking forward to a less eventful race next week. We've got the short circuit to contend with and a few areas that we need to be looking to improve, but it should be an interesting challenge."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Red Bull

Verstappen didn’t have a great start on Lap 1 but did enough to hold off a charging Perez and made a better go of things at the restart. From there second was always assured, but he couldn’t find any answer to the pace of Hamilton out front. He did wonder if a more aggressive strategy would have helped, but Mercedes might well have had the answer to that as well. As for Albon, he held fourth at the restart and there he looked destined to finish until Perez’s late retirement promoted him to a surprise podium with a few laps to go.

Max Verstappen, 2nd

“It was of course a big shock to see the flames at the start of the race and you know it is bad when there is fire like that. We were all relieved that Romain was able to get out of the car himself and that any injuries were treatable and I hope he recovers quickly. It’s not nice to see those things happen but fortunately the safety is incredible with the suits and the halo really saved his life today by pushing the guard rail up over his head. In the race I tried everything I could to stay with Lewis and there wasn’t much left to give but unfortunately we were just a bit too slow. I think we could maybe have put Mercedes under a bit more pressure but overall I think second is where we belong today with the pace of the car. A double podium is a great result for the Team and well done to Alex as I am pleased for him. The car seems to be working well here so we’ll see how next weekend goes on the different layout but hopefully we can find a bit more pace and get everything that’s possible.”

Alex Albon, 3rd

“Of course there’s a bit of luck involved today and Sergio drove a good race but we were there to capitalise on anything happening ahead and that’s exactly what we did so I’m really happy. The Team told me Sergio might have an engine issue and my first thought was if he’s dropping oil, I don’t want to be the first car behind him so I stayed off-line just in case and fortunately everything worked out. Considering the car damage we had on Friday, the guys did an amazing job to get everything ready for Saturday and it’s nice to repay them in this way. It’s been a good weekend for me pace wise and I’m happy with how it turned out. I feel like the last few races have been getting better and results just haven’t shown that but we’ve taken another step forward this weekend and I’m pleased. Next week we’re racing on a different layout but it’s a pretty similar circuit so hopefully we can expect more of the same. Like everyone in the paddock I was also very relieved to see Romain walk away from the car after the accident, it was shocking to watch back and the safety team did an amazing job today.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Firstly it’s a huge relief that Romain Grosjean is okay this evening and all credit goes to the FIA and particularly Ian, Alan and the marshals that were there without hesitation to help extract Romain from the car. They are truly heroes. We sometimes underestimate the role that the FIA play but today Romain owes his life to that collective work and the safety measures in place. For our drivers, Max extracted every ounce of performance from the car with second place and our first podium at this track since 2013. We did an extra stop at the end, because we could, which helped us achieve an extra point for Fastest Lap. Alex meanwhile drove another strong race. He was unlucky to lose out a bit to Sergio at the start and there was very little between them today. Sergio’s misfortune was Alex’s good fortune, giving him third place on the podium to secure our first double podium since the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix. Today’s result also secures second in the constructors’ championship for the Team which is encouraging and it enables us to now focus on trying to get both drivers further up the standings in the remaining races.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Second placed Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing and third placed Alexander Albon of Thailand and Red Bull Racing celebrate in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Racing Point

An unlucky day for the Pink Panthers. Stroll was tipped over at the restart in a dramatic-looking incident that fortunately wasn’t as impactful as it first appeared. Replays showed Stroll and Kvyat both wanted the same apex at the same time and collided, with the forces at work just tipping the RP20 over. The Canadian was okay but that left Perez flying the flag for the team in the constructors’ fight. The Mexican held onto third for the vast majority of the afternoon and seemed to serenely be headed for his second straight podium before MGU-K issues saw him retire with a handful of laps to go.

Sergio Perez, DNF

"It’s really hard for both myself and the team to take today’s result, but in the grand scheme of things, it almost becomes irrelevant after Romain’s crash at the start. At the end of the day, it’s either one more or one less podium or trophy for me, but the important thing is that Romain is still with us and that he’s ok. I wish him all the best. It was certainly hard to get back into the car after seeing something like that, but you just have to focus and prepare for the race. I think we executed a perfect race and the podium was definitely ours – it was going to be one of my best in Formula 1. It was gutting to retire with three laps left due to an MGU-K electrical issue. We were going to finish ahead of a Red Bull and a Mercedes, which is a great credit to all of us at the team, and we’d done such a good job all weekend too. We’ve lost out on some really important points today, which makes it a bit more difficult in the drivers’ and constructors’ championship battles, but the positive is that there are still two more races to make up for it.”

Lance Stroll, DNF

"I’m really happy that Romain was able to walk away from that crash as it was a scary one to see happen. I think all of us drivers in the pitlane had to stop for a second and reset before getting back into the car. I’m definitely thinking of him. For me, personally, I’m really frustrated by the race. We’ve scored two points since Monza and it’s been a series of incidents outside of my control that’s caused it. At one point this season we were P4 in the Drivers’ Championship and we’d had such a strong start to the year, so that makes the current situation all the more frustrating. I can’t say much about today’s incident, I was going through Turn 8 and was mid-corner when I was hit by Daniil [Kvyat] who came out of nowhere and connected with me. The crash looked worse than it was: I’m okay, and Daniil got a penalty. There’s no point thinking about what could have been today or in the previous events. We won’t dwell on it because there’s nothing we can do about it now. We need this run of bad luck to end and we’ll focus on coming back stronger next week and finishing the season on a high.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO

“A tough evening in Bahrain. Checo was cruelly denied a podium after an MGU-K issue forced us to park the car with three laps remaining. Up to that point, he had driven a flawless race, managing the tyres perfectly, and running comfortably in third place. Lance was just as unlucky - being eliminated through no fault of his own after Kvyat flipped him over. It was a scary moment, but fortunately Lance was checked at the medical centre and is ok. It makes the fight for third in the championship more difficult, but there are still two races to go, plenty of points available, and we know we have a competitive car. We will give everything we have to recover the lost points today and reclaim third in the championship. Regarding Romain’s accident, we share the relief of the entire paddock that he only has minor injuries. It was a frightening accident and credit to the FIA and sport as a whole for the safety standards we have worked hard to deliver in recent times.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes is launched upside down following a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Grosjean suffered a horror crash on the very first lap, his car engulfed in flames after it collided with the barriers. The Frenchman made it out in one piece, which is a credit to the ongoing safety standards of these cars. He was taken to the hospital for checks after reportedly suffering burns to his hands and feet. Magnussen did well to return to the cockpit in trying circumstances, but on a difficult day for the team he suffered damage at the restart and the resulting pit stop dropped him down the order.

Kevin Magnussen, 17th

"Firstly, I'm just very, very happy to see Romain walk away from that crash, it was unbelievable. To see him survive that is frankly a miracle. I'm so happy that the halo was introduced, and it was on his car. Without it I'm sure it would have been very different. That's really all from me today. I'm just happy that we've still got Romain."

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

"We got fortunate today. The good news is that Romain is doing well considering what happened. We are thankful for all the safety advancements in modern Formula 1 in order to protect the drivers. We send a thank you to the FIA safety team and the marshals who were on-site immediately to help Romain get away from the scene. As I said, I think we got lucky, there's not a lot more to say. We hope Romain will recover quickly from the injuries he sustained."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


What a turnaround from yesterday. Opting to start Sainz, who was down the order, on the softs proved a masterstroke as he made his way back through the field. Norris likewise seemed to have plenty of pace tonight despite damaging his front wing on the first lap, which fortunately could be repaired during the red-flag stoppage. He even had the honour of overtaking Bottas on merit in a spirited display. After the second round of stops those two wound up chasing each other home but luckily for the team, they behaved themselves until the chequered flag.

Carlos Sainz, 5th

"First of all, the most important thing today is that Grosjean is okay. It was a massive relief to see him jump out of the car after such a scary accident. I think this is the hardest reminder of how dangerous motorsport is. Despite the incredible safety measures we have nowadays, our lives are still at risk every weekend when driving these beasts to the limit. This has to be respected. On the positive side, what happened today underlines the great job of Formula 1 and the FIA, in collaboration with the teams, to keep making the cars safer every year. I think no one will dare to criticise the halo, for example, after what we’ve seen tonight. Finally, I want to highlight the job of the marshals and our pit-crews. They may not drive the cars, but they are equally exposed to big risks and they are key to protect us all.

“From my side, another good comeback from P15 to P5! I managed to do a very strong first stint with the Soft tyre, overtaking a lot of people but at the same time making that tyre last. The second stint on the Medium was also very strong, and we were able to pass both Renaults and have good pace closing the gap to Lando. It was a great race and we managed to score a big amount of points for the team which is crucial for the championship standings.”

Lando Norris, 4th

“First of all, I’m glad to see that Romain wasn’t seriously injured. It was good to see him get out of the car and it proves how safe the sport has become thanks to the work done by F1 and the FIA along with the teams. Once again, the halo has proved that it saves lives, and I’m sure that we’ll learn even more from this accident and make the sport even safer. The bravery shown by the marshals and medical car crew was absolutely incredible as well.

“Otherwise, a very good race! First time I think we’ve had that in a long time. I think everything went pretty much perfectly for us. Both starts were really good which put us in a strong position ahead of the Renaults. That was all really! There wasn’t a lot more to the race. I know there was a lot of action, but I think we just had a good strategy and we did what we had to do. My race wasn’t boring, but it was quite straightforward and we stuck to our plan and focused on ourselves. That was all we wanted to do in the beginning and that’s what we did, so I’m happy it all paid off. Good points, fourth and fifth – one of our best results as a team. A good bounce back from yesterday.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal

“The most important thing that comes out of the Bahrain Grand Prix is that Romain and Lance could both walk away after their accidents today. It’s a reminder for all of us that we should never lose sight of the risk our drivers are taking each time they leave the garage. The FIA, F1, the circuits and track marshals all around the world, together with the teams, have done great work to ensure Formula 1 has a very good level of safety. We need to remain aware that the sport will never be 100 per cent safe, and keep working to improve it.

“Well done today to both our drivers and the entire team, both here at the track and back home at the MTC, and to our colleagues from Renault. From P9 and P15 on the grid to P4 and P5 at the flag was another great recovery drive and gave us 22 significant Constructors’ Championship points. It was a well-executed race today, with the right calls in terms of tyres and race strategy and good work in the pit-stops. We can’t get carried away by it. Our target for the final two races must be to qualify higher up the grid – and we’re looking forward to attempting that next week when we’re back here in Sakhir, albeit racing on a very different circuit.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault leads Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Kvyat was involved in the two big incidents today. There wasn’t a lot he could do in the collision with Grosjean, with the Frenchman clipping his front wing at the start. As for the Stroll crash, the stewards deemed Kvyat responsible for the incident given he was the car behind and could have pulled out of the move, and that earned the Russian a 10-second time penalty on a troubled evening. Gasly had a better time of it, he made a one-stop strategy work and although he was fortunate that the late Safety Car prevented any overtaking, still managed to nurse his aged tyres home for a brilliant sixth place.

Pierre Gasly, 6th

“The main thing about today is to see Romain walking away from that horrific crash at the start of the race. It was pretty shocking to see, but I’m really glad he’s ok and I wish him all the best for his recovery and hope to see him back very soon. Performance-wise, I’m really pleased with our job. We took a risky strategy - it was a gamble - but it paid off in the end. It was one of the toughest races and a lot of hard work inside the cockpit today, it was all about managing and pushing as hard as I could, without hurting the tyres too much and keep them alive for as many laps as possible. It gave me a pretty hard time in the cockpit, but we managed to get one of our best results of the year, so I’m really happy to make it back in the points and make the best out of this Sunday.”

Daniil Kvyat, 11th

“To finish P11 is super frustrating. On the opening lap, I was a bit angry at first with Romain for his move, but then I was just worried about him because I saw the flames and how bad the crash was - I was just hoping he was OK and fortunately it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Then on the race restart I had an incident with Stroll. I was fully on the inside of him and even if I think saw me he chose to turn in like I wasn’t there. I put my whole car on the inside of the kerb and there wasn’t much more I could have done. So, I don’t share the same view as the Stewards regarding my penalty. It’s a shame they took this decision because it ruined my race. I’m upset but nothing will change the outcome, unfortunately.”

Claudio Balestri, Chief Engineer - Vehicle Performance

“Tonight’s race was really eventful, with a red flag on the first lap and two Safety Cars. First of all, we are happy that neither accidents, especially the first one for Grosjean, didn’t have any major consequence, it was such a relief to see him getting out of the car. As for our race, we changed our strategy at the restart to try to get an advantage from two new sets of the Hard compound which we had available. With Daniil, we decided to be more aggressive, starting on the Option at the restart and using the two new sets of Hards later in the race. Despite the 10-second penalty due to the collision with Stroll, he was able to arrive just out of the points in P11. As for Pierre, he was able to manage the tyres very well to afford only one-stop, finishing the race in a well-deserved P6. We now switch our thoughts to the next race which will again be held here at the Shakir circuit, but on the new challenging outer-circuit, where we expect another close midfield battle.”

Franz Tost, Team Principal

“Today we saw a very heavy accident at the start for Romain Grosjean, who, fortunately, was able to jump out of the car without any major injuries. Without a strong monocoque and the halo, the consequences might have been much worse, so a big thank you to the FIA for constantly improving the safety of the cars. As for our race, we started from P8 with Pierre and P10 with Daniil. Both of them didn’t have a great start and lost some positions, especially at the first corner. Then Daniil had the collision with Romain, who approached from the left to the right-hand side of the track, touching Daniil’s front left wheel before going off into the barriers. After the red flag, Daniil restarted on the Options. Then he had an incident with Stroll, who, in my opinion, came quite aggressive to the inside and I don’t think Daniil could have done anything to avoid the collision. He received a 10-second penalty and his race was compromised. Daniil wasn’t quite happy with the Option tyre as he felt he didn’t have enough grip, so we called him in again to switch to the Base tyre. Again, his car didn’t perform that well on the Base tyre either. In the end, Daniil finished just out of the points in P11. With Pierre, we changed our strategy and for the second start we sent him out on Base tyre, calculating that maybe he could pull off a one-stop. It was a bit risky, but everything worked very well on the Base tyre and we called him in on lap 25 to change to another set of the Base compound. It was a successful decision because he really felt good on that tyre, and he could finish the race in P6. Pierre and the team deserved a rewarding result as they did a great job all weekend. Last but not least, it’s good to see Red Bull Racing achieving a double podium finish today. I’m very pleased for them, especially for Alex after his accident on Friday, as this will be a boost for his confidence.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Scuderia AlphaTauri sits in the Pitlane following a red flag delay during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


The Renault boys were so close yesterday in qualifying, it did seem destined that they would be tightly matched in the race and so it proved. Ocon wound up ahead after the first set of pit stops, but Ricciardo seemed to have more pace and was allowed past. The Frenchman regained the place in the second round of stops but couldn’t hold onto it on merit with the Aussie getting back past with the help of DRS. Ricciardo ran out of time thanks to the last Safety Car to chase down Gasly, with seventh the best he could manage today.

Daniel Ricciardo, 7th

“Firstly, I’m glad Romain is okay after the incident. The result today does not matter so much after that and it’s a bit of an afterthought. To see him escape and walk away was a relief and I wish him the best in his recovery. That’s the main thing from today. In terms of our race, it certainly wasn’t what we wanted but we gave it our best and we still managed to score points. We’ll focus on next week when it comes, it’s still to play for in the championship and we’ll come back stronger.”

Esteban Ocon, 9th

“The first, and main thing, is the news of Romain [Grosjean] and I wish him a very fast recovery. It was a crazy incident. The team told me in the car that he was alright, but looking at the images, I struggled to believe it. It’s a miracle that he’s fine and I’m glad to hear he’s okay. Our race was secondary to that incident today. We have plenty to review from the race as the McLarens were a bit quicker than us. We’ll push on see what we can do next weekend on the shorter layout and try and claim some points back.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal

“After a very promising qualifying with both drivers into the top 10 on medium tyres, Daniel starting sixth and Esteban seventh, this race is clearly disappointing. We lost positions during the two starts, the first with Esteban and the second with Daniel, which hampered our race and impacted our strategy with early stops. In the second stint, both cars failed to find the pace and we will have to understand why. By the end of the race, Daniel was on the pace again and would have finished sixth without the Safety Car intervention. The final result of this weekend is not up to our ambitions and we need to regroup very quickly for the last two races. I also wish Romain a speedy recovery after this terrible accident and I hope to see him back behind the wheel before the end of the season."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16, Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 battle for position at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Leclerc made up ground at both starts, but didn’t have the pace to compete and soon fell back through the field. He did inherit P10 after Perez’s late incident though to at least bring a point home for the team who were just never quick enough here to compete this weekend. Vettel had a tougher afternoon, taking avoiding action when Stroll’s car was tipped over and losing a handful of places as a result.

Sebastian Vettel, 13th

"Maybe the only good news of today is the one I received on the radio, confirming to me that Romain was okay. When we stopped in the pitlane and I jumped out of the car I saw the images and it was incredible how he was able to get out of his car. I have to admit I tried not to look at the images too much.

"Talking about my race, the first stint was very bad, I didn’t have the pace and I lost quite a lot of ground. The situation improved as the race went on and in free air in the end it was not that bad but all in all it was definitely a difficult race."

Charles Leclerc, 10th

"After Romain’s crash, I was feeling very bad. It was probably the first time I have felt like this during a race, because I was trying to keep someone behind me and so I saw what happened in my rear view mirrors and when I got to Turn 9 I saw the flames, so I was worrying and waiting for news about Romain. I was extremely happy when they told me he was okay, after what seemed like a very long time. Well done to everyone who works on making our cars safe. It’s impressive to see what an incredible job they’ve done! Once I knew Romain was okay I focused on the race again.

"It was a difficult one for us today, as we were really not quick enough. I had a very good start but unfortunately after that it was all uphill. P10 was the best we could achieve today. We have two more GPs ahead of us now and we’ll try to get the most out of them."

Mattia Binotto, Team Principal

"The outcome of today’s race is secondary to the relief we felt when Romain Grosjean got out of his car after that terrifying accident. The fact that he suffered only minor injuries is a testament to the amazing job done by the FIA in terms of safety and the courage and professionalism of all those involved on that front at a Grand Prix. But for the progress made in recent years and above all the introduction of the halo, we might have been commenting on a tragedy. As for our race, it was disappointing, but we had seen right from Friday that we would struggle this weekend. Now we have a few days in which to analyse all the data carefully and see how we can improve the car’s handling for next weekend. As we stay in Sakhir, the track conditions and temperatures should be the same, but we will be racing on a different layout for the very first time, which could present us with an opportunity. It will be up to us to grasp it and to do better than we did today."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 locks up during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)


With Safety Cars, red flags and all sorts of drama, it was the sort of evening where Williams perhaps could have managed to score their first point of the season. But with 17 cars making it to the chequered flag, it was still a tough ask – and one made harder by Russell’s dreadful first start. The youngster atoned at the restart and worked his way up to 12th but didn’t have the pace to attack any further from there.

George Russell, 12th

"I am pleased with the job we have done this weekend. I dropped places on the initial start but from the restart I came from P18 to P12, and in the race managed to keep Vettel behind us, whilst overtaking Giovinazzi, Magnussen plus fighting with Kvyat. I think it is a job we can be pleased with, and I think we can leave saying we got everything out of this weekend. It’s not a point but it is the maximum that we could do today.

"It is incredible that Romain walked away from the crash today. I am just pleased that he is okay and extremely thankful that we have the halo. I am proud of the work that the FIA and F1 have done for the safety over the recent years."

Nicholas Latifi, 14th

"The first start was very tricky but we got a much better start on the second one, and moved up a bit, but then I made a misjudgement whilst battling for position on the subsequent lap. Still, I am pretty pleased with the race. Tyre degradation was the big factor to manage and I think we did a good job. We had a strong strategy which meant I could achieve the target which was to get ahead of the Haas and the Alfa. Obviously, you always want more, there are some things that could have been better as it wasn’t an easy race out there, but I am pretty pleased with the result.

"I wish Romain a speedy recovery, you never like to see something like that, it just shows you that the risk is always there in motorsport."

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

"Firstly, we send our best wishes to Romain Grosjean and Lance Stroll, as well as our colleagues at Haas and Racing Point. The incidents that each suffered were unusual and we are thankful that they each walked away without serious injury.

"Secondly, Bahrain delivered a good race with a range of strategies and some good overtaking. We are pleased with our performance today and we have a lot of positives to take away, some of which we can apply to the race next week. Both drivers completed strong races, following difficult initial race starts. It was a shame to finish such a good race behind the safety car, and again close to the points, however, it was a strong weekend overall and we have set ourselves up nicely for the challenge of the Sakhir Grand Prix next week."

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Nicholas Latifi of Canada driving the (6) Williams Racing FW43 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Alfa Romeo

With Raikkonen carrying damage from debris, Alfa Romeo did try and swap their drivers to see if Giovinazzi could make any headway up the order. The Italian started to struggle on his tyres and was one of very few cars to pit under the late Safety Car which dropped him back behind his team mate. Like the other Ferrari-powered cars, this one was a struggle for the team – but hopefully better things are to come from the last couple of races.

Kimi Raikkonen, 15th

“Like everyone, I am happy to see Romain being okay: nobody is used to seeing crashes like that in these days so it’s important to see he was able to walk away. Once the race restarts and you are in the car, though, you just focus on that: sadly my race was compromised early on as I got damage in both starts. I had a hit to the floor in the first start and then to the front wing and to the right side of the floor in the second and that took away a lot of performance. The car was quick in the first laps after the stops, but the damage made the pace fall off quickly. It’s a shame as the car felt pretty good on the way to the grid, but we weren’t able to make that potential pay off.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, 16th

“I was really relieved to see Romain walk away from that huge crash – seeing him get out of the car was the best thing of tonight. I hope his injuries are not too serious and he can be back with us soon. As for the race, I made a great start and made up a lot of positions before the red flag – I was 11th, but was brought back to P14 at the restart. The second launch wasn’t as good and after that I settled into a rhythm: our pace was quite good but I have a feeling our choices for the race didn’t pay off as well as we expected. We chose to stay out on the hard tyres and only stopped when the final safety car came out, but that didn’t work for us in the end. Time to shift our focus to next week and hope it goes better.”

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal

“Before any consideration can be made about the sporting result, it’s important to express our relief in seeing Romain Grosjean walk away with relatively little harm from such a terrifying crash. Seeing the images on our TV screens was a breath-taking experience and the outcome of this incident is testament to the great strides made by the FIA and F1 in making our sport safer. There can never be complacency when safety is involved, but it’s heartening to see lessons are being put to good practice. As for the race, it was an unlucky night in which we had any opportunity of a good result taken away from us by a few unfortunate circumstances. Antonio’s great launch was nullified by the red flag and Kimi’s race came undone as he suffered damage in both race starts. It’s been a challenging weekend but all we can do now is focus on next week’s race.”

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Alfa Romeo Racing looks on from the pitwall during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


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. In Formula 2, tyre management was crucial, with the medium tyre playing a key role for some drivers. Deletraz was the only driver to start on medium before switching to hards, and he made this strategy work perfectly, resulting in one of those fightbacks through the field that have become a hallmark of Formula 2."



Coming Up

Coming Up


Piastri ‘excited for the future’ after McLaren’s performance in Imola as he rues impact of penalty