Bahrain will host its 12th Formula 1 Grand prix this weekend when the lights go out for third ever night race at Sakhir Circuit.
Bahrain first entered Formula 1 calendar back in 2004 and Michael Schumacher, that season’s champion, was the first driver to ever stand on the top place of the podium at Sakhir circuit. Fernando Alonso, champion from 2005 and 2006, won here in those two years, before Felipe Massa’s won two in a row in 2007 and 2008. Jenson Button drove first under chequered flag in 2009 and Alonso won his third in Bahrain in 2010. 2011 race was cancelled due to the political unrest in the country, while Sebastian Vettel won in 2012 and 2013 for Red Bull. The last two races were won by reigning champion Lewis Hamilton. All in all, of the 11 Bahrain Grand Prix until now, eight have been won by the eventual Formula 1 champion for that season.
For this weekend’s race, disliked new qualifying format has not been abandoned because voting to do so failed to receive unanimous approval. Following a chaotic qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix, teams agreed to revert to the old qualifying system. However, after Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt decline to support the request an alternative proposal to revert only Q3 session was put for a vote by the Formula 1 Commission but there was not the unanimity required for the rule so it will remain at least for the next race in Bahrain.
As for the race itself, Mercedes’ drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg come in as favorites as usual in the past two seasons. However, after we’ve seen Ferrari, especially Sebastian Vettel, battle strong in Australia there could be another exciting race in store at the start of the season. Nico Rosberg will be looking for back to back wins to start the season and after he finished last season with victories in the last three races, it is clear that he has carried the momentum over to 2016 season.
The surprise of Australian Grand Prix was the success of Team Haas in their first race ever. Debutants from Haas sit in fifth place in the Constructors championship after a sixth place for Romain Grosjean in Australia. We want to see can they continue with the same performance.
The Sakhir track in Bahrain is 5.42 kilometers long and features 15 corners and four straights. Sunday’s race will be driven across 57 laps. Tyre manufacturer Pirelli have made available the supersoft, soft and medium compound pneumatics for dry weather race in Bahrain. The intermediate and wet tyres will also be available but very likely not needed for the race in desert conditions. The race starts on Sunday at 17:00 CET.