Prixview – Bahrain Grand Prix

Features Prixview

Round two of the 2018 season takes Formula One to the middle east and the kingdom of Bahrain. The circuit in Sakhir was built in the early 2000’s and became the first circuit in the Middle East to hold a Formula One race, built near the city of Sakhir.

The circuit has a mixture of long straights and fast flowing corners, which has created some great racing. The country fought off many other countries in the region and has become the home of motorsport in the Gulf. The track surface used over 12,000 tonnes of stone were used in the build, a third of it Welsh granite, chosen for the track surface due to its excellent adhesive qualities.

The circuit was designed to give the spectators the best views of the race. The circuit has been branded as the safest in the world because of its wide run off areas, but that has also had criticism because it doesn’t punish drivers.  Ferrari is the most successful team, Michael Schumacher won the first race in the Gulf.

Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have both won in Bahrain three times, while Lewis Hamilton has two wins. Alonso was the first back to back winner on his way to both his championships in 2005 and 2006.

The 2010 race used the endurance circuit, which added an eighth of a kilometre. However, the race failed to see an increase in overtaking. The race was huge for Ferrari, as Fernando Alonso won on his debut for the team, while Felipe Massa’s return following a head injury saw him finish second.

However, since the cancellation of the 2011 race because of the Arab Spring, the race has proved controversial with human rights groups.

Since 2014, the race has been a night race which has proved to spice up the drama. That race was an intense fight between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, as the two Mercedes pushed each other. That fight could be seen as the beginning of the rivalry between the two.

Hamilton won another fight with his teammate the following year, after opening the gap up over Rosberg during another tight battle. Rosberg would get his chance the following year.

Facts and figures

Race 2018 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
Venue Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir
Circuit Length 5.412km (3.363mi)
Laps 57
Race Distance 308.405 km (191.634 mi)
Lap Record 1:31.447 (Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 2005)
Most wins drivers 57
Most wins manufacture 308.405km (191.634mi)

Fast facts

  • Although alcoholic beverages are legal in Bahrain, the drivers do not spray the traditional champagne on the podium. Instead, they spray a non-alcoholic rosewater drink known as Waard.
  • Bahrain is one of only three current F1 circuits where McLaren have not recorded a victory (the others being Sochi and Baku)
  • In Arabic, Bahrain translates to English as ‘the two seas’
  • The five points on the country’s flag represents the five pillars of Islam (Faith, prayer, charity, fasting and Hajj.)
  • The Bahrain Grand Prix has never been won from lower than fourth on the grid

Event timetable

Session Local BST
P1 14:00-15:30 12:00-13:30
P2 18:00-19:30 16:00-17:30
P3 15:00-16:00 13:00-14:00
Qualifying  18:00-19:00 16:00-17:00
Race 18:10 16:10

What happened in 2017?

Sebastian Vettel took the advantage of the penalty awarded to Lewis Hamilton to build his gap through using the undercut to jump the Mercedes. Hamilton said close but wasn’t able to recover the lost ground. While teammate Valtteri Bottas lost out as well after starting from pole, to finish third.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, but earlier in the race he was pushed back to seventh by Max Verstappen who past at turn one and then his former teammate Felipe Massa at turn four. The Dutchman’s race didn’t last long after making his stop, a brake failure brought his evening to a close as he rejoined

What to watch for?

Being at the front of the pack is very important as the race has never been won outside the top three. Overtaking can be difficult because of speed and dirty air, but is possible. You see a difference between FP1/FP3 and FP2, Qualifying and the race, as the temperatures drop. Often it has been another team leading in the daylight and another in the twilight.

On paper you would believe this was a Mercedes circuit, however last year it was Ferrari who beat them in the race. You can’t really understand Bahrain until after practice because of the changing conditions. This weekend we will get a better understanding of how the cars perform on track and the pecking order.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

  P1 Fastest P2 Fastest P3 Fastest Q1 Fastest Q2 Fastest Q3 Fastest Race Time Fastest Lap
2017 01:32.697 01:31.310 01:32.194 01:30.904 01:29.535 01:28.769 01:33:53.374 01:32.798
Diff +0.403 +0.009 +0.511 -0.487 -0.504 -0.724 -18.678 +0.504
2016 01:32.294 01:31.001 01:31.683 01:31.391 01:30.039 01:29.493 01:33:34.696 01:32.294

Data Profile

A lap of the B

Valtteri Bottas comes out of the last corner builds speed and opens the DRS, then he crosses the start finish line. Stays on the outside all the way along the straight before breaking in-between 150m and 100m boards. Turns in and get close to the kerb and then heads to the outside for two. He then runs to the inside kerb, building speed which he carry’s through three. Builds speed along the straight, before breaking at the 100m board for four. Hits the apex and runs the car to the exit.

Breaks slightly into five before building speed through the corner. Good through six and seven, breaks going into turn eight, hits the apex then runs to the outside. Crosses the track on entry to nine, goes through the centre and then begins to break. Hits both the outside and inside kerbs, before running to the inside. Runs along the support pits, breaks at 50ish metres running through the corner close to the apex then to the inside.

To the outside for thirteen, runs close to the kerb and then to the outside where he stays all the way along the strait. Breaks a 100m before fourteen where he takes the inside apex and then back to the outside where he stays until he crosses the line with a 1:28.789.



Team Supersofts Soft Mediums
L. Hamilton Mercedes 7 4


V. Bottas

7 5 1
S. Vettel Ferrari 7 4


K. Raikkonen

7 4 2
D. Ricciardo Red Bull – Tag Heuer 7 4


M. Verstappen

7 4 2
S. Perez Force India – Mercedes 8 3


E. Ocon 8 3


S. Sirotkin Williams – Mercedes 7 5


L. Stroll

7 4 2
F. Alonso McLaren – Renault 9 3


S. Vandoorne 9 3


P. Gasly

Toro Rosso –Honda 7 5 1
B. Hartley 7 4


R. Grosjean

Haas – Ferrari 8 3 2
K. Magnussen 8 4


N. Hulkenberg

Renault 8 3 2
C. Sainz 8 3


M. Ericsson

Sauber – Alfa Romeo 7 3 3
C. Leclerc 7 4



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Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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