Honda Earns Double F1 Podium in Bahrain
Max Verstappen and Alex Albon gave the manufacturer its first double-podium finish of 2020, while Pierre Gasly came home in sixth.
The Aston Martin Red Bull squad locked down the second row on the grid with Verstappen standing third alongside Albon – a position that was a testament to the Red Bull team, which had to repair Albon's car after a hard crash in Friday's free practice session.
Verstappen wrested second from Valtteri Bottas in the first corner of the race, but things took a somber turn before the end of the lap. In the rear of the field, Romain Grosjean took a hard right turn past the nose of Scuderia AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat and slammed into the Armco barrier, cutting his car in half. The cockpit area, where Grosjean was still belted in, erupted in flames. Luckily, Grosjean was able to get out of the car as the safety crew helped him to safety.
The damage to the barrier made for a 90-minute red flag stoppage and on the restart, Kvyat had contact with Lance Stroll resulting in a rollover crash in which Stroll was not injured. Kvyat later received a 10-second penalty for his role in the incident.
Verstappen chased eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton for most of the event, leading briefly during the first round of pit stops, before settling for second. The Dutchman halved his deficit to Bottas in the point standings, gaining an extra points for running the race's fastest lap, and moving to within 12 points of second place with two races left to run.
Albon ran another steady race and was chasing down Sergio Perez for third place when the engine in the Perez car started smoking. A lap later the rear of the car burst into flames, bringing out the Safety Car with three laps to run. Albon was promoted to third with the Perez stoppage, but the stewards were unable to get the race restarted for a final-lap sprint.
The stoppage also helped Gasly's fortunes, securing his sixth-place run. The Frenchman was the only driver in the field to execute a one-stop strategy, and he was doing yeomans work in holding off Daniel Ricciardo and Bottas before the Perez Safety Car ended the proceedings. Kvyat rebounded from the penalty and finished 11th, just one spot out of the points.
The teams and drivers of the Formula 1 World Championship will stay in Bahrain but the track layout will change, as F1 will run for the first time on the faster 3.543 km (2.2 mi.) outer circuit.