Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two with record-breaking lap

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two in qualifying as Valtteri Bottas overcame Max Verstappen to take second place on the grid.

Q1

With the soft tyres only good for a single flying lap, and the track likely to give better grip as the session went on, few drivers ventured out immediately after qualifying began. This inevitably meant the track was congested as drivers started their laps, and several complained their out-laps were disrupted by traffic.

Verstappen went out early and set the initial pace, his Red Bull sparking dramatically down the straights following a late adjustment to its ride height. The Mercedes pair soon relegated him to third, Hamilton by half a second, Bottas just a tenth faster.

Charles Leclerc was among those who had his build-up lap disrupted by other cars ahead of him. “Please don’t send me into traffic like this,” he asked his team after his first lap left him 16th, just above the drop zone. Kimi Raikkonen plus the Williams and Haas drivers were behind him in the bottom five and at risk of elimination following the first runs.

George Russell led the field out for the final laps and leapt up to eighth, indicating how quickly the track was improving as more rubber went down. He was rapidly demoted by a succession of quicker cars, though Antonio Giovinazzi was unable to get back in front of him, which meant the Williams driver reached Q2 again.

All four Ferrari customer cars therefore dropped out in the first round, including Romain Grosjean, who had been unhappy with his car’s balance throughout practice. “I tried too hard mate, I wanted to enjoy it,” he said after beating his team mate to 18th. “Hopefully it’s not too bad tomorrow.”

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’29.491
17Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’29.810
18Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’30.111
19Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’30.138
20Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’30.182

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Q2

The second stage of qualifying also began with a lull of a few minutes before a clutch of cars headed onto the track en masse, led by Daniil Kvyat.

But before anyone had been able to set a time Carlos Sainz Jnr’s McLaren spun to a stop a turn one. To his dismay, Sainz discovered he couldn’t drive away again. “Come on, no, don’t tell me this,” he said. “Yeah there’s no drive.”

Having checked with race control, McLaren attempted to restart his car, but were unable to get him going again. The session was red-flagged while the stricken MCL35 was recovered.

Once Q2 resumed, only a portion of the field rejoined the track. Verstappen initially went fastest, but Hamilton again found more than four-tenths of a second to regain the top spot. Bottas, however, was fractionally slower than the Red Bull. Albon took fourth, but was seven-tenths of a second behind Verstappen.

“Where am I losing time?” he asked. “It’s mainly middle sector”, replied his engineer, “a little bit six-seven, a little bit eight, a little bit nine.” He was only a tenth of a second quicker than Lando Norris in the sole remaining McLaren, followed by Sergio Perez.

The rest of the drivers waited until the end of the session to do their only runs. Both renaults grabbed places in the top 10. Esteban Ocon was told “do not give Leclerc a tow”, and that may have done for the Ferrari driver, as he failed to reach the final stage. Sebastian Vettel dropped out as well, meaning the team which locked out the front row of the grid last season failed to make Q3 this year.

The pole-winner from the previous race, Lance Stroll, also took no further part in the session. He remained on a used set of medium tyres and ended up 13th, telling his team there had been a “miscommunication” and they would “speak about it after”.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Sebastian VettelFerrari1’29.149
12Charles LeclercFerrari1’29.165
13Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’29.557
14George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’31.218
15Carlos Sainz JnrMclaren-RenaultNo time

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Q3

Verstappen split the Mercedes pair on the track and on the timing screens on their first runs in Q3. The Red Bull driver appeared between the two W11s as they began their laps, and with the quickest middle sector set a lap just 0.146 seconds behind Hamilton. Bottas was almost a tenth off the Red Bull in third place.

Despite that, Verstappen wasn’t happy with the balance of his Red Bull, reporting he had less rear grip than in final practice. Even so, he was more than a second faster than Albon. The second Red Bull was seventh after the first runs, losing out to Perez, Gasly and Ocon.

Hamilton made sure he led the field around before beginning their final runs, while Verstappen came around behind Bottas and Norris. The world champion lit up all three sectors, posting a record-breaking time of 1’27.264.

Bottas got much closer – just over two-tenths of a second behind – but Verstappen couldn’t beat him this time. While one Red Bull slipped to third, the other moved up to fourth – but only just. Sergio Perez, the driver who has been widely rumoured to take his seat, was just four-hundredths of a second slower in fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo improved with his last run to lead the Renault pair in sixth and seventh. Lando Norris split the two AlphaTauris, Pierre Gasly ahead of Daniil Kvyat.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’27.264
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’27.553
3Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’27.678
4Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’28.274
5Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’28.322
6Daniel RicciardoRenault1’28.417
7Esteban OconRenault1’28.419
8Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’28.448
9Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’28.542
10Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’28.618

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2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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62 comments on “Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two with record-breaking lap”

  1. Stroll’s slowness surprising, although Mclaren’s positions aren’t great either, considering the battle for third.

  2. Great flowing lap from Hamilton. 98 polls. Wow.

    1. Doesn’t beat the quality of his lap in 2016 though in my view. Uh that lap in 2016 was better due to the pressure and the circumstance.

      1. @krichelle maybe not! I’d have to watch again. But his final lap was virtually perfect. Also very calm, you’re probably right, a lap performed without much pressure, just concentration and enjoying getting it right.

    2. I miss Nico Rosburg

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        28th November 2020, 19:44

        @slotopen so do I! He was the villain for so long as was Schumi but I needed the villain! Follow his You Tube channel now and TBH he’s looking better and better every year of this Bottas era.

  3. Its racing point’s 3rd to lose to be honest. Albon will go back to his usual positions on raceday i.e. p7-p10 (that too if he has a strong race), so perez getting another solid p4. Ocon will mess up in some way or another so only one race car for renault too. The mclarens will try their best and finish in the points but still less than RP race haul. Ferrari as usual no chance in hell. So RP is well placed. Its very very sad that RP had to let go off Perez for Vettel. He’s driving his best this year and yet he wont have a place next year as RBR keeps like retaining Mr. Thai cash.

    1. *looks like

      1. Mr Daddy stroll please replace your son stroll with perez , your son is worse than albon, if RP looses 3rd place it’s because of your son, always finds a way to loose.

  4. I guess that if you are utterly blinded by fanaticism and nationalistic blindness towards supporting Max, you would say that.

    After all, there would be those who would say that Russell’s performance in the Williams was more impressive – but, of course, he suffers from the problem of not being Max Verstappen, and therefore you cannot accept the possibility that somebody else other than Verstappen might show an ounce of talent.

    No doubt, though, we will now see your other fake accounts cropping up so you can praise your own post in your weird devotion to Max.

    1. And you continue to dodge the problem that is your blind hatred of others and the toxicity that you spew from the wrongful belief that you are somehow “doing God’s work” – you behave with the obsessiveness and hatred of a religious fanatic that thinks he must indoctrinate and brainwash others into his cult.

      Look at yourself – you are creating multiple fictional personas in order to praise an individual who utterly despises you for the creepy obsession you have with him. You are achieving nothing other than to futilely waste your life in bile and hatred of others – please, step away from your computer and take a good, hard look at the pointlessness of your behaviour and the desperate image it paints of you.

      Do yourself a favour and try to do something positive instead – don’t just sit in front of your computer and waste the little time we have on this world in your nonsensical quest to prove yourself to a driver who doesn’t know who you are, will never care about knowing who you are and would find your behaviour repellent.

      If you are stupid and desperate enough to continue, then so be it – but don’t blame me if, several years hence, you find yourself wondering why you wasted so much on achieving so little.

      1. Here Here.

        Poor Daz hasn’t a clue, I’m baffled as to why RF aren’t doing something about him ruining every comments section with his obsession with Hamilton.

      2. Please don’t go on. Your are simply a recycling machine of oft made comments.

      3. Sadly, you will pointlessly go on – you’ve completely missed the point, given you seem to have sat waiting here in order to react to others who don’t worship Max in the way you do.

        Why don’t you take your own point and calm down yourself? Max doesn’t need people like you who seem to get rattled at the indication that people don’t worship him in the way you do and, if anything, has his reputation stained by people like you.

        For somebody who claims they’re “just commenting on motor racing”, you don’t actually seem to care a lot for motorsport – all you seem to be interested in is constant Hamilton bashing and constant Verstappen brown nosing. Still, go ahead – congratulate yourself so you don’t have to think about the stupidity of your self-imposed crusade for no reward.

      4. Irrelevant posts annoy you, and then you show us how to do it with a vicious personal attack?

        You then claim to be upset about posters edging in their praise their driver on every topic and putting down others, yet have stood idly by the daily dose of that from the Hamilton fans for months or years?

        I had you as a quality poster. I now know better.

  5. lexusreliabilty?
    28th November 2020, 15:48

    Hmm I am beginning to question why RBR haven’t snapped up Perez by now. He’ll come with sponsorship and in the races atleast he’ll keep Verstappen honest (I actually think over the course of the season he will give Max trouble). That is more than what can be said of Albon despite the rumours about the Thai tycoon who owns the RBR recipe. People moan that Hamilton doesn’t have a challenge, well Max has been on holiday for the past 2 seasons since Ricciardo left and he’s in the 2nd best car that on the odd weekend, is actually better than the Mercs.

    1. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if perez is just as far away from verstappen in qualifying pace, but I’m pretty sure he’d score vastly more championship points than albon. I can understand why red bull are giving albon every opportunity, but he’s going to have to do something pretty special to keep his seat now. Even a lucky podium would be something.

      1. lexusreliabilty?
        28th November 2020, 17:41

        My thoughts exactly- I don’t think Perez can live with Max over one lap but in the races I reckon he’ll be alot closer. Over a season I think he would give Max plenty to think about- at a stretch maybe even cause an upset.

        1. Perez is a journeyman IMHO. Good on his day, but midfield racer. I would name 10 drivers who are better on current grid.

          1. Rus, lec, sainz, vet, nor, ham, Ver, Ric, ocon, bot, gas… There 11! K.mag and gros might have him too…

          2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            28th November 2020, 21:18

            Lewis, Max, Charles, Daniel, Seb, George, Lando, Carlos.

          3. lexusreliabilty?
            28th November 2020, 22:45

            Magnussen and Gasly ahead of Perez? I hope you’re not an F1 casual because Perez has been getting podiums even in a Sauber when they were still around. Might not be the quickest over a lap but if you think KMag and Gasly are better, sorry, but there goes your credibility.

          4. Davethechicken
            29th November 2020, 7:52

            Gasly won at Monza. In an alpha tauri.
            My point is that Perez is not a top driver. I have quoted JB on the matter before.
            K. Mag had a rather impressive rookie year with Mclaren as JBs teammate. He was on the podium coming second in Australia, his first race, in the Mclaren. He was dropped for Fernando, who was seen as the best at that time.
            He is only 28 and never got a chance in another competitive car, so I think he would have every chance of beating Perez.
            I have watched every race since ’88, so I have seen and awful lot of drivers over the years.

            Sorry for posting twice

  6. I shouldn’t really reply but you need some help I think. Peter Windsor has a couple of videos explaining where Hamilton picks up time on these kinds of laps, specifically turns 9 and 10 – turn 9 being where many drivers lock up. Hamilton takes a different braking line so that he’s lined up better for 10 and the exit into the long straight. Verstappen almost replicates Hamilton, but not quite. Do you get that? That’s someone who actually knows something about racing explaining how drivers make the difference, and how Lewis is ahead still (though Max, being a brilliant driver and thus knowing how to learn to improve, is watching attentively). No need to thank me.

    1. You didn’t bother watching did you? It’s not just the car, it’s the skill. The videos explain how. Verstappen himself understands it. Really, do yourself a favour and expand your mind a bit with some new information and try seeing things a bit different. Evolve.

      1. Where you place the car on the track is not a question of a superior car. As Peter Windsor notes, Hamilton since his debut at Bahrain has always taken a different line, irrespective of the car. Taking a wide line into turn 9 is more demanding of driver skill as it’s dustier, but that’s a level both Hamilton and Max have. And that’s why. if you bother listening, you’ll discover Verstappen was actually talking on his team radio about Hamilton’s exit from turn 10! Also – very obviously – if it was just the car, Bottas would be lapping the same. If you watch and disagree still, fine, explain why, we can discuss it.

    2. @mianmian Happy you enjoyed it! It’s great to get these insights and then watch what he’s talking about in real time during the race and so on.

    3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      28th November 2020, 17:22

      Mark Hughes did a very good interview with Lewis for The Race “How Lewis transformed himself after leaving McLaren.” It’s a good read for those who think the driver only drives the car and does nothing else during the week. Very educational. In it Hughes outlines just how much of a contribution Lewis makes to the direction of the car development. So not only is Lewis one of the best drivers of all time, he is also one of the best team motivators of all time and one of the best car developers of all time.
      I’d recommend the article for anyone struggling to understand why the particular combination of Mercedes and Lewis are dominating.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        28th November 2020, 17:44

        “In terms of helping develop the car, that’s something that I think that young drivers… I never fully understood, as a young driver not in the team, what it was that Michael [Schumacher] did in the team. It’s difficult for young drivers to understand what Michael did, what I’m doing now.
        “They just see a good car. But now [that] I’m approaching where Michael was I understand what he did with his team. I’m sure it’s similar to what I’ve had to do.

        Difficult for some fans to understand too it appears.

      2. @davewillisporter Indeed, Mercedes says this often enough. They would not have been where they are now if it wasn’t for Hamilton.

    4. If you honestly can’t watch an onboard, or better still a side by side, and not see where Hamilton’s skills are superior to Max or indeed where Max can match or beat Ham on skill alone I do feel sorry for you. Even when you are given the opportunity to explain or discuss a simple difference between the two you continually fail to see the obvious. In all the time you have infested this forum with your multiple accounts, you have not once shown an iota of understanding of any of the skills on display.

      You are simply watching a sport you can’t fully appreciate or understand. How sad.

  7. Groundhog day n. 444…

  8. well that’s interesting.. is Ricci able to develop engines too.. great person but his engineering skills are debatable ;)
    The real development problem is still about 50Bhp short..

    1. You need to call out this fellow max supporter. He is an embarrassment to you all.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        28th November 2020, 20:38

        Lets talk stats for the sake of it. Comparing Max vs Daniel to Lewis vs Alonso.
        Max debut season ran pretty much level with Sainz and took until his 4th season to beat his team mate, who had 8 DNfs to Max’s 3.
        Lewis handed it to Alonso, a 2 times WDC and McLaren’s lead driver (Yes, he was the number one before Lewis embarrassed him) on track. In his first season he finished on the podium in his first 9 races and beat Alonso on points / countback, in his FIRST season. Not only that he won the off track political battle too.
        Second year, Max finished behind Daniel, Lewis won the WDC despite Ferrari winning the constructors.
        Yes, Lewis had an advantage in testing before entering F1 but the difference is clear as day.
        Max has improved enormously and is now a very good driver. Daniel has learned the ability to drive a team. Daniel is still ahead.
        As I said before, there is more to a driver than what they do in the car. Lewis is head and shoulders above everyone else in this regard, not matched since Schumacher. Daniel has started to do that with Renault and will continue with McLaren.
        Max is an extremely quick driver and TBH I’d say over one lap in the same machinery, slightly ahead of Lewis. He would be beaten in the same team over a season by both Daniel and Lewis because of what he hasn’t learned yet that Daniel is starting to learn and what Lewis has mastered.
        The job of an F1 driver is much much more than what they do in a car on a Saturday or Sunday.
        Max is not there yet. He will be but he is not there right now.

    2. Honda are 20bhp short according to Motorsport.com. That was in quali mode. In the race it’s even less.

      Just look the gap between Williams and Mercedes to see what difference the rest of it makes.

      Quoting the only one out of 3 season and even then only one of the 3 available metrics per season to mark the single one metric out of the total of 9 that Verstappen “won” is indeed what makes you such an embarrassment.

    3. Re above post Erijke, Ric VS Ver, you are cherry picking the 2018 season. To be fairer why dont you look at 2018 prior to Riccardo announcing he was leaving RBR???
      You will find it doesn’t fit your narrative.
      I suppose you will argue Ric got equal treatment after he told RBR he was leaving?

  9. lexusreliabilty?
    28th November 2020, 17:39

    Really? It says here and here that Max was smashed twice. You can make up your own reality if you wish- but it is just that- your own fantasies.

  10. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    28th November 2020, 17:39

    I’m gonna make a prediction. Yuki Tsunoda will be in a Redbull in 2022. 22nd to 6th. Amazing drive.
    Imagine having Max and Yuki with Lewis and George in the Merc! I really hope it happens.

    1. Saw yuki today. Future WDC? Would not be surprised to see him and Mick Schumacher dominating F1 once Hamilton leaves. Give them 2-3 years.

  11. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story there .
    The fact is Riccardo beat Max in points, pole positions and race wins in their time as teammates.
    There is no debate.
    Delusions however, well they can’t be shaken. Even by facts.

    1. No davethechicken.. that is completly untrue and simple to check for yourself.

      Their last year compared:
      https://www.racing-statistics.com/en/drivers/compare/daniel-ricciardo/max-verstappen/seasons/2018

    2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      28th November 2020, 20:05

      Daniel had 8 DNFs to Max’s 3. One of the reasons Raikkonen and Lewis left McLaren is because of DNFs. 8 to 3! Daniel had one win to Max’s zero. After Baku there was internal problems at Redbull. You can’t simply look at points alone. Max was definitely the most competitive he had been against Daniel that year but there were other factors at play. People use this line against Lewis too. Jenson beat him in 2011. Lewis’s worst year in F1 with a lot of off track problems. Does anyone honestly believe Jenson would have won 7 WDCs with Lewis as a team mate? Max is undoubtedly one of the best of the modern era but Ricciardo had his worst year in 2018 for reasons other than Max. Perspective and analysis is necessary.
      Max and Daniel are top class drivers. Saying things like “Max destroyed Daniel” just isn’t true. Plus, don’t underestimate the value of what they do off track. It’s clear Daniel has re-invigorated Renault. That’s a talent he shares with Lewis, Schumacher and Alonso. Max is Redbull’s hero but where has he got them exactly? Still a distant 3rd most races. There’s more to being an F1 driver than what they do in the car. Max ain’t there yet. Not saying he won’t get there, he definitely will but he’s not on the same level as Lewis and has something to learn from what Daniel has done at Renault and no doubt what he will do at McLaren.

    3. Lol yes look at the score for 2018. The only stat that Verstappen “won”. You know very well that Ricciardo barely made it to the finish in 2018, so points are meaningless.

      Despite all the DNF’s, Ricciardo still won 2 races vs the 2 for Verstappen. Even though Verstappen claims that if he had the fastest car he’d win all the time. Well he won only half of them … (if even that)

      Ricciardo’s car actually broke down in quali a lot too, but Ricciardo still had 2 poles vs 0 for Verstappen.

      So yeah, Ricciardo really proved a lot better than Verstappen. Especially during 2016 and 2017, but also 2018.

  12. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    28th November 2020, 17:47

    Max’s move in Baku was what smashed Ricciardo. The team backed Max when clearly he moved too late and caused the collision. Ricciardo decided to move because of the team’s bias not because he was scared of Max.

    1. lexusreliabilty?
      28th November 2020, 17:58

      +1

      That was multi 21 again just this time with more severe consequences for the team that are still being felt by Red Bull and Ricciardo today. Poor leadership by Horner and Marko but really not a surprise.

  13. What did Renault want Ocon to do to not to give leclerc a tow?
    Or in other words, what can a drier do during his quali lap to prevent the driver behind from getting a tow? Weave? Build a big gap before starting the quali lap?

    1. Throw a banana?

  14. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    28th November 2020, 21:23

    Not impressed that RaceFans decided to delete an entire part of this conversation. Not impressed at all. Some very good points countering the myth that Max is the best. Not impressed at all!

    1. lexusreliabilty?
      28th November 2020, 22:48

      @davewillisporter Max is the best only to casuals and his overzealous fans. Guy still has a tonne to prove- he is yet to string together a championship winning campaign, even in his junior formulae days.

    2. In fairness it became an attack on a poster and that’s not great for the site, even if said poster contributes nothing but negativity to every article.

      I think the Max Verstappen hype debate is something to save for an article on him. I’d certainly be interested in a opinion piece on where he stacks up in the driver roster and the debate it would generate. While I do consider him over hyped, his fans should be allowed to support and praise him.

      The issue is some of them are doing so through constant negativity towards the sport, other drivers and indeed other posters. Mind you there are some Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton fans who also do the same. I would prefer if the site required registration for posting comments tbh.

      1. Davethechicken
        29th November 2020, 8:22

        I agree.
        It is irritating the way that nearly every article on here, where Hamilton gets pole or wins or does something good etc turns into a posts from people who claim Max to be the GOAT. You don’t get that on planet f1 or any of the other forums.
        We are all entitled to an opinion but it is mine that there are some seriously irrational postings which don’t stand up to any kind of objective scrutiny.

  15. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    28th November 2020, 21:24

    50 comments? Well were are they RaceFans? Where are they?

  16. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    28th November 2020, 21:36

    I’ll start again then!
    Myth 1. Max destroyed Daniel in 2018: Daniel had 8 DNFs to Max’s one. Daniel won 2 races to Max’s zero. Daniel had to deal with internal politics favouring Max. Daniel gave up on the team/
    Myth 2. Max is better than Lewis: Debut year Max ran level with Carlos. Lewis took it to a two time WDC in his prime, as the defacto number one driver for McLaren and displaced him because of Lewis’s talent and off track ability being better than Alonso’s. “nd year, Max finished behind Daniel. Lewis won the WDC but Ferrari won the constructors.
    Years 3 to 6, Lewis in contention for the WDC to the last race (give or take) Max?
    Year 7. Lewis takes on a risk and helps build a team that wins. Daniel flourishes at Renault and helps inspire them to do better, getting 2 podiums, first since Lotus. Max? Still an also ran in an also ran team.
    A nugget for the Max fans. He is probably, in equal machinery faster over one lap as Lewis inevitably has lost a little of his jawdropping debut qualifying speed but in racecraft, team building and continued success he hasn’t proven to be better than Daniel, let alone Lewis.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      28th November 2020, 21:51

      Correction. Max had 3 DNFs! Typo.

  17. So, Formula One – yet another boring race to come. Thankfully I live in Melbourne, Australia and will not be able to stay up for it. Of course, the Liberty Media mob have only USA in mind as the audience.

    ‘Sir’ Lewis Hamilton also bores me to tears.

    1. Tend to agree, would be much better if there was some sort of challenge to Hamilton. Sadly not. Don’t get me wrong, he is a fantastic driver and one of the Goats, but his dominance over everone isn’t as entertaining as a good race up front, like Monza this year.

  18. This is probably the first time I saw a team being annoyed after finishing 1-2…and by being annoyed I mean to actually look fed up and unhappy. Same for the drivers, same for the team principal.

  19. Davethechicken
    29th November 2020, 7:50

    Gasly won at Monza. In an alpha tauri.
    My point is that Perez is not a top driver. I have quoted JB on the matter before.
    K. Mag had a rather impressive rookie year with Mclaren as JBs teammate. He was on the podium coming second in Australia, his first race, in the Mclaren. He was dropped for Fernando, who was seen as the best at that time.
    He is only 28 and never got a chance in another competitive car, so I think he would have every chance of beating Perez.
    I have watched every race since ’88, so I have seen and awful lot of drivers over the years.

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