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Race information - Bahrain 2016 - Sakhir takes centre stage for second round of the season

Published by Christine

We'd normally be talking about Malaysia at this early stage of the championship, but the Sepang circuit has taken a sojourn towards the end of the calendar, shuffling Bahrain up to second place. With just one race weekend under our belts, it's quite obvious that Mercedes are still the team to beat but there was plenty to whet our appetites from the action in Melbourne. It was a closer fight, an unpredictable weekend, and hopefully Sakhir can deliver some of the same over the next few days.

Event schedule

Unfortunately, we still have the new elimination style qualifying to contend with this weekend, as the potential return to last year's format was quashed when everyone failed to agree it was rubbish, whilst simultaneously agreeing it was awful.

There's double bad news for this weekend as Fernando Alonso has pulled out of the weekend to continue recuperating from injuries sustained during the opening round in Australia. Although mostly healed, the doctors don't want to risk any further injury to the Spaniard, so he'll be replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne for the coming weekend.

Meanwhile, the championships have begun in earnest, with Nico Rosberg and Mercedes setting an early lead but Ferrari not too far behind. Hamilton seemed genuinely happy with his second place after what could have been a disappointing race, but he'll still be hoping for one position better in Bahrain.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
01 AprFridayFree Practice 112:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +03:00
Free Practice 216:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +03:00
02 AprSaturdayFree Practice 313:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +03:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +03:00
03 AprSundayGrand Prix16:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +03:00

Support racing for this event includes TCR International Series and Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East.

Expected conditions

The Bahrain race used to be a hot and dusty affair, with the desert sun burning over head and sands blowing across the track to mix things up. Whilst the surface remains slippery, the sun has started to set, with organisers moving to a night race to join their neighbours Abu Dhabi. That means the qualifying and the race will take place under floodlights, and that can mean lower than average temperatures to contend with.

As you might expect, there's no rain forecasted, and the paddock should be pleasant and warm for meandering guests. The breezy conditions will not help with the sandy track, though and could add to the drama as it unfolds.

High clouds and breezy

Sakhir, Friday


  • Low 18℃
  • Humidity 44%

High clouds and breezy

Mild and pleasant

Sakhir, Saturday


  • Low 19℃
  • Humidity 42%

Mild and pleasant

Clear skies

Sakhir, Sunday


  • Low 19℃
  • Humidity 41%

Clear skies

Track information

The Bahrain circuit is flat and sprawling, set incongruously against a backdrop of pure desert and sand. It's the complete opposite of season opener Albert Park, and rather than the tight confines of a street circuit, Bahrain stretches out four long straights to put extra stress on the power units that are already dealing with higher temperatures and the dusty atmosphere.

Bahrain International Circuit circuit map
DRS zones
DRS detection 110m before turn 9
DRS activation 150m after turn 10
DRS detection 2108m before turn 14
DRS activation 2270m after turn 15

Cooling can be a significant issue around a lap of the Sakhir circuit, as the long straights end in tight corners that create a stop-start nature to the entire track. The first corner is a slow and wide one, and can see some great fights on the opening lap. It leads into the first of the long straights, which then turns back on itself for a glorious sweeping section making up the in-field part of the track.

A smaller straight runs parallel with the home stretch, which culminates in a fourth gear sweeping curve that arcs to the left and then the right, to lead back round onto the third of the four straights. That results in a ninety degree right to throw drivers onto the home straight.

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitBahrain International Circuit
TimezoneGMT +03:00
Race debut2004
Length5.412 km
Distance308.238 km
Line offset0.246 km

The Bahrain race still has the feeling of a new event, despite entering its twelfth year in the sport. There was one missing race in 2011 due to political troubles, and the 2010 race took place on an elongated endurance track, but otherwise the circuit has remained the same.

It's not a race renowned for overtaking, but equally pole position has only delivered victory for 5 of the 11 winners. The results do tend to give an inkling of how the final championship is going to pan out, though, with eight winners going on to become champion by the end of the year.

Six different drivers have taken victory around the track, with Fernando Alonso boosting the most in 2005 and 2006, as well as on the endurance circuit in 2010. Lewis Hamilton has won for the past two seasons, however, and he'll be looking to make it a hat trick.

Results for the 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix
Free Practice 1Kimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari1:37.827
Free Practice 2Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:34.647
Free Practice 3Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:34.599
QualifyingLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:32.571
Grand PrixLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:35:05.809
Fastest lapKimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari1:36.311

Tyre compounds

Tyre strategy played a big part in the results of the Australian Grand Prix, but more because of the red flag free-tyre-change situation rather than the increased number of compounds. Regardless, we have three sets available again this weekend, the softs, supersofts and the medium white stripes.

The tyre decisions made by teams and their drivers seem a little more varied for the Bahrain weekend, with some opting for as many as four medium sets whilst Mercedes have only picked one set for each of their drivers. Verstappen has also gone with a unique strategy of having seven sets of the yellow striped soft compound, while most of the rest of the field have gone for four or five.

Selected tyre sets per driver
Medium tyreSoft tyreSupersoft tyre
Lewis Hamilton166
Nico Rosberg166
Sebastian Vettel346
Kimi Räikkönen346
Valtteri Bottas337
Felipe Massa337
Daniel Ricciardo256
Daniil Kvyat256
Nico Hülkenberg256
Sergio Pérez256
Kevin Magnussen157
Jolyon Palmer157
Max Verstappen175
Carlos Sainz265
Marcus Ericsson355
Felipe Nasr445
Fernando Alonso346
Jenson Button346
Pascal Wehrlein454
Rio Haryanto454
Romain Grosjean247
Esteban Gutiérrez157

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
ThursdayFernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda
Romain GrosjeanHaas F1 Team
Felipe MassaWilliams Martini Racing
Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Max VerstappenScuderia Toro Rosso
Pascal WehrleinManor Racing MRT
FridayRobert FernleySahara Force India F1 Team
Paul HemberyPirelli Tyre S.p.A
Monisha KaltenbornSauber F1 Team
Dave RyanManor Racing MRT
Franz TostScuderia Toro Rosso
Claire WilliamsWilliams Martini Racing
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
Paul GutjahrPresident of the FIA Hill Climb Commission, board member and President of Auto Sport Suisse SARL
Roger PeartPresident of the FIA Circuits Commission and President of the ASN of Canada.
Derek WarwickFormer Formula One driver and World Sportscar champion.

All content in the series Bahrain 2016