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F1 2020 season prepares for sprint finish in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi

Formula 1’s condensed yet rapid-fire 2020 season concludes with a triple-header in the Middle East from this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton’s historic title-clinching win at the last race in Turkey added to Mercedes securing of the constructors’ championship at the previous round, meaning both the season’s world titles are now settled.

However, a season that has seen 12 drivers already finish on the podium – an eight-year high – still has a number of key battles to play out and fights to win.

The final three Grands Prix – two in Bahrain and one in Abu Dhabi – run on consecutive weekends. All three events run under floodlights.

In its latest finish to a season since 1963, the final chequered flag of the season will fall in Abu Dhabi just 12 days before Christmas.

Sunday’s Bahrain GP starts at 2.10pm, with build-up from 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports F1.

What races are left?

  • November 27-29: Bahrain GP, Bahrain International Circuit, GP Track
  • December 4-6: Sakhir GP, Bahrain International Circuit, Outer Track
  • December 11-13: Abu Dhabi GP, Yas Marina circuit

Bahrain follows the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone in staging back-to-back events in this much-changed season.

But there is one significant change for their double-header.

Whereas this weekend’s first race will take place on the usual 5.4km layout used for all but one of Bahrain’s previous 15 Grands Prix, next week’s second event – titled the Sakhir GP, the area of Bahrain in which their race track is in – will run on the super-fast, short Outer circuit, which is set to generate the fastest lap times in F1 history.

The Sakhir GP will also run later in the evening as a bonafide night race.

The season then concludes in Abu Dhabi for the seventh year in succession at the Yas Marina circuit.

What’s still to play for?

The fight for third in the constructors’…
While Mercedes are confirmed as champions, and Red Bull are poised to mathematically secure second place, the battle for third in the Constructors’ Championship remains wide open.

Racing Point (154 points) currently hold the advantage after Sergio Perez’s second place in Turkey but McLaren (149) remain on their heels, while Renault (136) now have some ground to make up after a disappointing time at Istanbul Park.

But Ferrari (130) cannot be entirely counted out yet. They are outsiders in sixth place, yet a season-best 27-point haul in Turkey has brought them back into contention.

Third place would represent a significant achievement for the others – and provide a financial boost too, with each of those places separated by around $4m in prize money. McLaren last finished third in 2012 and Renault in 2007, while the Silverstone-based Racing Point team have only finished in the top three once, 1999, when they were known as Jordan.

Ferrari, second-placed finishers for the past three seasons, haven’t finished outside the top four since 1981.

…and fourth in the drivers’
It’s the first position in the standings that doesn’t actually earn you a trophy but several drivers will have their sights set on crowning strong seasons with what could be titled ‘best of the rest’ behind 2020’s dominant top three.

In the battle for fourth, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo are separated by just four points, while strong ends to the campaign for any of Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris and Alex Albon could bring them into contention too.

2:56 Former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg says ex-Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is now an all-time great after winning a record-equalling seventh world title

Former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg says ex-Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is now an all-time great after winning a record-equalling seventh world title

Hamilton to tie F1 wins record – from fewer races?
Few of the sport’s most significant records now don’t have Lewis Hamilton’s name at least jointly attached to them, but one more remains attainable this year – the most race wins in a single season.

Michael Schumacher set the record in 2004 by winning 13 times from 18 events in 2004, with Sebastian Vettel matching it from 19 starts in 2013.

Hamilton has 10 wins already in 2020 and by winning the final three rounds he’d have a record-equalling 13, albeit from just 17 rounds. The Briton seems likely to surpass his own season wins tally of 11.

When’s the Bahrain GP on Sky this weekend?

Friday, November 27
9.30am: F2 Practice LIVE!
10.30am: Welcome to the Weekend LIVE!
11am: Bahrain GP Practice One LIVE!
1.10pm: F2 Qualifying LIVE!
2.45pm: Bahrain GP Practice Two build-up LIVE!
3pm: Bahrain GP Practice Two LIVE!
5.30pm: Story So Far LIVE!

Saturday, November 28
9am: F2 Race One LIVE!
10.45am: Bahrain GP Practice Three build-up LIVE!
11am: Bahrain GP Practice Three LIVE!
1pm: Bahrain GP Qualifying build-up LIVE!
2pm: Bahrain GP Qualifying LIVE!

Sunday, November 29
9.50am: F2 Race Two LIVE!
12.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday LIVE!
2.10pm: THE BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX LIVE!
4pm: Chequered Flag LIVE!
5pm: The Notebook LIVE!
6pm: Bahrain GP highlights
10.05pm: Bahrain GP race replay

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