"Formula 1" this season still managed to break out of Europe, albeit not too far.
For the last three races of the season, the pilots traveled to the Middle East and settled in Bahrain first.
The kingdom received the right to host two races at once, one of which received the well-established name of the Bahrain Grand Prix, and the second - the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Different names are not the only difference between the two stages.
The first of them was supposed to take place on the track configuration well familiar to the riders and at the usual time, when evening in Bahrain gives way to night.
A week later, the pilots will have a completely different race with the shortest lap in the calendar and artificial lighting from start to finish.
But first, the riders had to determine the best in the framework of the national Grand Prix and again remember all the features of the circuit, located almost in the middle of the desert.
On Friday afternoon, many of them lost control on the dusty track and found themselves outside of it, including Max Verstappen.
The Red Bull pilot even had to finish training ahead of schedule.
In his absence, the protocol was headed by the newly-minted world champion Lewis Hamilton, who had already solved the main problem for the season.
The fact that Verstappen could impose a fight on the Mercedes pilot became clear at the end of the evening session.
This time the Dutchman was more careful with the car and was able to show the second time, losing to Hamilton about a third of a second.
His teammate Alexander Albon had a much worse session - he ran into the curb and crashed the car against the wall.
According to the results of Friday's races, it was worth highlighting the Racing Point speed, in which Sergio Perez showed the third and fourth times, as well as the lack of prospects for Ferrari - neither Charles Leclerc nor Sebastian Vettel managed to enter the top ten.
On Saturday, grip on the track improved thanks to a layer of used rubber left by the Formula 2 drivers.
Under these conditions, Verstappen was already able to surpass Hamilton in the final training session.
Albon on the restored car showed the fourth result after his partner and Mercedes.
Daniil Kvyat also improved his positions - with a new power plant, for which a penalty was not relying, he rose to eighth place.
Qualification took place in the evening.
Her first session did not bring unexpected results.
In the second, the AlphaTauri pilots tried to become the main troublemakers.
Kvyat and Pierre Gasly chose the fastest tires, in which later, if they reached the final round, they had to start the race.
But they failed to show all the speed of their cars right away - on the first lap Carlos Sainz stopped in a McLaren.
After the evacuation of the car, the session continued, and the AlphaTauri drivers got their way, guaranteeing themselves a start from the fourth and fifth rows.
They managed to knock out the drivers of Ferrari, who in the second Grand Prix in a row finished qualifying in the second round.
Gasli and Kvyat failed to build on the success - they took the last places on the even side of the grid.
The expected duel between Verstappen and Hamilton for pole position did not happen in the end.
The world champion beat the Dutchman easily throughout the qualification and at the decisive moment he was faster again.
The pilot of Red Bull at the same time bypassed Bottas.
Albon was in fourth place, and Perez deserved to start from fifth position.
The start of Sunday's race made all Formula 1 fans go through a few difficult minutes.
Shortly after the start, when Bottas lost his positions to Verstappen and Perez, one of the cars at the end of the peloton crashed into a bump stop and caught fire.
The moment Grosjean collided with the barriers # BahrainGP 🇧🇭 # F1pic.twitter.com / VL1lMtRQjR
- Formula 1 (@ F1) November 29, 2020
Haas pilot Romain Grosjean was involved in the accident.
The Frenchman crossed the trajectory of Kvyatu, touched the Russian and flew off the track.
His car immediately after the collision fell into two halves and ignited.
When the firemen began to extinguish the fire, Grosjean came out to meet them and was handed over to the paramedics.
Doctors diagnosed him with only minor burns.
The race was immediately stopped, and its further conduct was called into question, as the accident had severely damaged the protective barrier.
The organizers were able to put everything in order within an hour and a half and give the pilots the green light.
They started in the positions that they occupied at the time of the accident, so Bottas became the fourth, and Kvyat - 15th.
But the riders again failed to calmly drive at least a circle.
In the eighth turn, Kvyat faked Lance Stroll's car when he drove onto the curb.
As a result, the car overturned, and a safety car had to be called to the track.
The Canadian got off with a slight fright and withdrawal from the race.
⚠️ SAFETY CAR ⚠️
Stroll has crashed
The Canadian has radioed the team to say he is ok and he's out of car #BahrainGP 🇧🇭 # F1pic.twitter.com / C6fRGPjBL3
- Formula 1 (@ F1) November 29, 2020
While the peloton was preparing for the restart start, Bottas drove into the pits for new tires and rolled back to 16th place.
Kvyat climbed to 11th place, but soon after the resumption of the race, he learned that he had been given a 10-second fine for the incident with Stroll.
Fighting for points in such a situation became almost meaningless, although Charles Leclair's problems allowed him to climb into the top ten during the race.
After the pit stop, the Russian rolled back to 17th position and no longer got close to the points zone.
When the tires were changed by all the other drivers, the leadership group stabilized and did not assume any changes within themselves.
Hamilton held the first place, Verstappen followed him about five seconds behind, Perez rounded out the top three.
It was very difficult for the Dutchman to catch up with the world champion, but in Bahrain he primarily competed with Bottas, from whom he could still take second place in the overall standings.
Finn had another pit stop in the middle of the race and ended up in the middle of the peloton, trying to fight for at least some points.
Closer to the finish line, when the final places had already been practically distributed among all the pilots, Perez had smoke.
For a long time he did not want to stop and end the struggle, but still parked his car when the car caught fire.
The organizers of the Bahrain Grand Prix had to release the safety car for the second time.
Agony for Checo Perez!
After certain looking to finish in P3, his car starts billowing smoke
He's out ❌ #BahrainGP 🇧🇭 # F1pic.twitter.com / oiq584Q1os
- Formula 1 (@ F1) November 29, 2020
It was not possible to remove the yellow flags mode before the end of the race, and the racers crossed the finish line in formation.
Hamilton won 11th victory in 15 stages this season, Verstappen narrowed the gap to Bottas to 12 points, and Albon moved up to third place.
Racing Point, due to the departure of two pilots, lost the third position in the Constructors' Cup and lost it to McLaren, whose pilots at the Bahrain Grand Prix were fourth and fifth.
Kvyat, thanks to the descent of Perez, pulled himself up to 11th place and could still cling to the points if the race continued in competitive mode.