THE BAHRAIN GP
THE MAIN EVENT
While Sepang was the first of Hermann Tilke’s new-era venues to join the Formula 1 calendar in 1999, the Bahrain International Circuit initiated a flurry of Tilke-designed additions from the 2004 season onwards. His company has now built or modified 12 tracks on the 2018 F1 calendar.
One of the most successful and popular of that generation, the Bahrain International Circuit, twists through the Sakhir desert, an environment that requires teams to develop mitigating strategies against the dust and heat.
A state-of-the-art floodlight system was installed for the circuit’s 10th anniversary in 2014 when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg memorably scrapped for victory. It has been a night race ever since, following in the footsteps of the Singapore Grand Prix and the twilight Abu Dhabi round.
Bahrain also staged the season-opener in 2006 and 2010, and was set to do the same in 2011, only for the event to be cancelled owing to civil unrest.
CLASSIC RACE: 2010
Through it was met with a collective sigh by many fans eager to see a repeat of the previous season’s topsyturvy form, the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix proved unique in at least one way and is worth reappraising as a classic.
Seven-time world champ Michael Schumacher made his comeback with Mercedes as the grid swelled to accommodate three new teams. Running for the first (and so far the only) time on Bahrain’s longer 3.9-mile layout, Sebastian Vettel signalled Red Bull’s strength by leading from pole position, but a spark plug failure cost him performance. Fernando Alonso charged through to lead a Ferrari one-two on his first outing for the Scuderia, with Lewis Hamilton third.
Circuit name Bahrain International Circuit First grand prix 2004 Number of laps 57 Circuit length 3.36 miles Race distance 191.53 miles Lap record 1m31.447s Pedro de la Rosa (2005) F1 races held 13 Winners from pole 5 Tyres Supersoft, soft, medium
TV TIMETABLE (UK TIME)
Friday 6 April Practice 1 12:00 Practice 2 16:00 Saturday 7 April Practice 3 13:00 Qualifying 16:00 Sunday 8 April Race 16:10 Live coverage Sky Sports F1 & Channel 4