2020 Bahrain & Sakhir Grand Prix – Preview
The Turkish Grand Prix was a weekend unlike any another seen in Formula 1 in recent memory. Now you’ve had a bit of time to digest events from Friday through to Sunday – what’s your take on how events played out and the challenges, notably the sheer lack of grip, drivers faced from start to finish. Did you embrace the challenge, or did it detract from the potential of what might have been?
“It was a challenge, but it was the same for everyone. It wasn’t something we were expecting from Turkey, but everyone did the best they could. I think I would have preferred the circuit with the normal tarmac – it would have just been more fun to drive. It shook up the order though, at least in qualifying.”
The traditional grand prix layout at Bahrain International Circuit has seen you finish twice on the podium and record a memorable fifth place finish for Haas F1 Team in just its second ever Formula 1 race back in 2016. Tell us what you like about racing there – what suits your style?
“I think in general Bahrain’s a really cool circuit, it’s very good for racing. It’s got quite an abrasive tarmac, so strategy normally plays a big part of it. It’s dominated by low-speed corners and traction at the rear. I guess if you’ve got a good car on traction, and you don’t destroy too much the rear tires, you’re normally pretty fast.”
The Sakhir Grand Prix will utilize Bahrain’s shorter, faster 3.5km Outer Track layout. As it marks the first time Formula 1 cars will have raced on that configuration, what can we expect to see in terms of lap times and the layout lending itself to overtaking and hard-charging racing?
“In all fairness I have no idea what to expect. Let’s wait and see how it turns out. Obviously, there are going to be some challenges, but let’s see if we can face them better than others.”
We’ll be racing under the lights twice in Bahrain and again at the season finale in Abu Dhabi at the end of this triple-header stretch. When was the first time you raced at night and are you a fan of it?
“I think the first time I raced at night was the Singapore Grand Prix. The biggest surprise for me was that the visibility was very good – it wasn’t a problem. Everyone’s looking forward to these races. Let’s go there and finish the best we can with Haas.”