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Race information - Bahrain 2017 // Be prepared for the first night race of the season

Published by Christine

We've had two races so far this year and they've both been fascinating, for different reasons. In Australia, we were faced with unknowns and left not quite sure whether our questions were answered. In China, we got more information and saw some great racing, but most are still on the fence about whether the new style cars are going to deliver a good season or a mediocre one. Bahrain is round three, and gives us another opportunity to see what F1 2017 style is like.

Event schedule

It couldn't be closer in the championship at this super early stage in the season - Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are the two to watch as they go into the third round hoping to win and gain that top place in the standings. Their teammates both have a lot to prove, however, with Bottas and Räikkönen waiting in the wings. Red Bull are also there or thereabouts, and need a few more races to show if they've got potential or just need more luck.

Meanwhile, Pascal Wehrlein is set to make his F1 return, and drive his first race for Sauber, having sat out the season so far as he recovered from injury. That means bidding farewell to Antonio Giovinazzi, who probably doesn't mind too much after crashing ignominiously last weekend.

China and Bahrain are back to back events, so there hasn't been much time for teams or drivers to take stock of what they learnt in Shanghai, but the conditions are likely to be quite different in Sakhir. There's a lot at stake as the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend begins.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
14 AprFridayFree Practice 112:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +03:00
Free Practice 216:00
GMT +01:00
18:00
GMT +03:00
15 AprSaturdayFree Practice 313:00
GMT +01:00
15:00
GMT +03:00
Qualifying16:00
GMT +01:00
18:00
GMT +03:00
16 AprSundayGrand Prix16:00
GMT +01:00
18:00
GMT +03:00

Support racing for this event includes TCR International Series, F2 and Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East.

Expected conditions

The anticipated weather is dry conditions but cloudy, and as it's a night race, the temperatures will likely be lower than during the day. You never know what's going to happen with F1, but I would expect to see all five sessions unfold without weather hampering proceedings, unlike last weekend in China.

Predominantly dry

Sakhir, Friday

38℃

  • Low 26℃
  • Humidity 17%

Predominantly dry

Predominantly dry

Sakhir, Saturday

41℃

  • Low 25℃
  • Humidity 16%

Predominantly dry

Moderate winds

Sakhir, Sunday

32℃

  • Low 25℃
  • Humidity 43%

Moderate winds

Track information

Bahrain has hosted an F1 race for more than ten years, but it doesn't get any easier for them. With political issues, a relatively dull race track, and the constant issue of sand blowing onto the surface to lower grip, it's not a favourite on the calendar. There are areas that make overtaking possible, however, so it will be interesting to see what this race can add to the debate about 2017's overtaking prowess.

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

A lap of the Sakhir International Circuit begins on the long, long home straight which ends at a tight, second gear right hander. Jinking to the left and back to the right again, drivers embark on a second straight which builds up the speed, only for it all to be lost again in another tight corner that follows.

The second sector begins with some flowing lefts and rights, before a first gear turn to the right leads drivers onto the mini straight that comes before the back straight. This mirrors the long start/finish stretch, and sends the drivers round some faster and more flowing sections.

With some fourth and fifth gear corners, driver just have time for yet another long straight to end in a ninety degree right hander, before they are back on the home straight, crossing the line to complete a lap.

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitBahrain International Circuit
LocationSakhir
CountryBahrain
TimezoneGMT +03:00
Race debut2004
Laps57
Length5.412 km
Distance308.238 km
Line offset0.246 km

For the first time in a long time, the FIA have made no significant changes to the circuit ahead of this year's running, with just routine maintenance being undertaken. This will be the 13th Bahrain race, and the fourth held under floodlighting, with Fernando Alonso taking the crown as the most successful driver around the track.

Fernando Alonso had to sit out last year's Bahrain race and was substituted by Stoffel Vandoorne, who is now his teammate and will be relieved to have experience of a race track after two races being the rookie.

Pole position isn't crucial at this track (only five polesitters have converted their grid position into a win), but qualifying well helps as the race has never been won from below the first two rows on the grid.

Results for the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:32.294
Free Practice 2Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:31.001
Free Practice 3Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:31.683
QualifyingLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:29.493
Grand PrixNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:33:34.696
Fastest lapNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:34.482

Tyre compounds

Pirelli are more comfortable at the Bahrain track than at some of the others on the calendar as they have done plenty of testing there. They note particular issues with track evolution due to the surrounding sand, and that last year's race winning strategy was a three-stopper.

Head of car racing Mario Isola says: "The biggest gains at Sakhir are all to be found in traction. It's quite a stop-start circuit, so getting the power down properly and keeping the rear tyres in good conditions is very important."

Selected tyre sets per driver
Medium tyreSoft tyreSupersoft tyre
All drivers247

Note: From Australia to Spain, teams will have identical tyre allocations: seven sets of the softest compound available, four sets of the middle compound, and two of the hardest compound. In Australia, these are ultrasoft, supersoft and soft (in order). From Monaco, normal rules apply: teams will select 10 sets of the 13 available. Pirelli will communicate the selections on the Tuesday, 10 days before the race.

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
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayFernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda
Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Kevin MagnussenHaas F1 Team
Jolyon PalmerRenault Sport F1 Team
Sergio PérezSahara Force India F1 Team
Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda
FridayJames AllisonMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Mattia BinottoScuderia Ferrari
Zak BrownMcLaren Honda
Christian HornerRed Bull Racing
James KeyScuderia 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
NamePosition
Gerd EnnserMember of the DSMB's Executive Committee for Automobile Sport, and a Formula One and DTM steward.
Radovan NovakSecretary General of the Autoclub of the Czech Republic, and World Motor Sport Council member.
Danny SullivanFormer Formula One driver, Indy 500 winner and CART champion.

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