Sakhir (AP) - At the end of a turbulent week, Valtteri Bottas leads Formula 1 in its penultimate race of the season.

The Finn will start from pole position at the Grand Prix in Bahrain this Sunday (6.10 p.m. / RTL and Sky).

Significantly more attention than Bottas, however, in Sakhir once again gets his second-placed team-mate.

WORLD CHAMPION SUBSTITUTE: George Russell has long been considered a driver with a great future.

In almost two Formula 1 years he had never lost a qualifying duel against a teammate.

When the time came, the 22-year-old was a bit annoyed.

But as a consolation, Russell is allowed to drive off the front row for the first time in his career and is not sitting in the slowest car as usual with Williams, but in the superior Mercedes.

This is made possible by the corona infection of world champion Lewis Hamilton, whom Russell, sponsored by Mercedes, is allowed to represent.

"If you'd told me that last week, I wouldn't have believed you," he said.


MINI COURSE: The route is also quite unusual.

A week ago the pilots were still on the usual runway in Bahrain, this time the oval-shaped outer course will be used for the first time.

"It's a bit like a Mickey Mouse track," said Favorite Bottas about the 3.543-kilometer course, which has to be lapped 87 times.

The drivers need less than a minute from start to finish, the crowd and action seem guaranteed.

MÜHSAL: Sebastian Vettel will once again be in the middle of the turmoil.

The Ferrari driver did not get past 13th place in qualification and therefore has to fight agonizing midfield battles again.

"We weren't fast enough," the 33-year-old repeated a sentence he has said many times this year.

The fact that a new engine had to be installed in his Ferrari on Saturday didn't help.

Team-mate Charles Leclerc showed again that there was more to it.

The Monegasse starts fourth.

DEBUTANTS: Two newcomers can try out on Sunday.

Pietro Fittipaldi brings a big name with him as the grandson of the two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

The 24-year-old replaces the French Romain Grosjean at Haas, who survived a fire accident in the same place last week only with a lot of luck, almost unscathed.

At Williams, Jack Aitken represents compatriot Russell.


© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201205-99-586204 / 2

Information about the route

World Federation information

Mercedes message to Russell