With Lewis Hamilton ruled out of the race after testing positive for coronavirus, Mercedes development driver Russell has been called up from his role with Williams to drive alongside Bottas, and came within 0.026s of the Finn in a fascinating qualifying session.
They were followed by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who in practice displayed a superior race pace to the two Mercedes and could take the fight to the world champions during Sunday’s night race.
With Russell stepping up to Mercedes, fellow British driver Jack Aitken participates in his first F1 race for Williams, while Pietro Fittipaldi will also make his debut as he stands in for the injured Romain Grosjean, who suffered burns to his hands in last weekend’s frightening crash during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
With the race this week taking place on Bahrain’s ‘outer loop’, lap times are expected to be sub-one minute in what is set to be the festest F1 race ever recorded.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend.
When is the Sakhir Grand Prix?
The Sakhir Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 6 December.
What time does the race start?
The race gets under way at 5:10pm GMT as the race takes place under the floodlights in Bahrain.
How can I watch it?
Sky Sports have the broadcast rights to all F1 races this season, with coverage shown live on Sky Sports F1 and on occasion their Main Event channels.
Channel 4 will show the British Grand Prix live each year, and have highlights of each race on Sunday night.
If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.
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FP1: 1:30pm GMT - 3pm GMT
FP2: 5:30pm GMT - 7pm GMT
FP3: 2pm GMT - 3pm GMT
Qualifying: 5pm GMT - 6pm GMT
Race: 5:10pm GMT - 7:10pm GMT
FP1: 1pm GMT - 3:15pm GMT
FP2: 5:15pm GMT - 7:15pm GMT
FP3: 1:45pm GMT - 3:10pm GMT
Qualifying: 4pm GMT - 6:30pm GMT
Race: 3:30pm GMT - 8pm GMT
This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League. Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri - Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.
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