Bahrain Grand Prix Facts & Statistics

Facts and statistics ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Round 2 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

The 2004 Grand Prix of Bahrain marked the first ever round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship to be held in the Middle East and the official culmination of a multi-million dollar project started back in September 2002 when the Kingdom of Bahrain signed a long-term deal to host the event.

Located at Sakhir, 30 km south-west of the island’s capital, Manama, the Hermann Tilke designed circuit contains five track layouts within the one complex. 

Track Facts

  • Lap distance: 5.412km. Total distance: 308.238km (57 laps)
  • 2017 pole: Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes. One minute 28.769 seconds.
  • 2017 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari.
  • Race lap record: 1:31.447. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain), McLaren, 2005.
  • Start time: 15:10GMT (1810 local)

The Essentials

  • Toughest corner: Turn 10, a downhill left-hander taken in second gear (85km/h/53mph). The cars are simultaneously turning left and braking, which makes it easy to lock the unloaded inside front wheel. The drivers need to drive in a progressive and controlled fashion because the second DRS zone follows and a good exit is vital
  • Unique difficulty: Temperatures. In 2014 the time of the race was switched from day to night, from 14:00hrs to 18:00hrs. The race starts seven minutes after sunset, meaning the track and ambient temperatures drop as the race progresses. That alters the balance of the cars and affects tyrewear
  • Biggest headache: The Bahrain International Circuit is the only track on the calendar that’s located in a desert. It’s windy and sand from the surrounding wilderness gets blown onto the track surface, which affects grip levels and forces the teams to attach filters onto the brake and engine inlets

Engineer’s lowdown

  • Brakes: There are eight significant braking zones, the toughest of which are into Turns One and 14. It’s also the first hot race of the year and the combination of high ambient temperatures and heavier cars (734kg) means brakes will need to be monitored closely during the race
  • Power: The cars use 1.8kg of fuel per lap, which is high. Without a Safety Car period, it will be difficult for the cars to make the end of the race without some degree of fuel saving. Fuel consumption is negatively affected by the large number of acceleration zones from low speed
  • Aero: To maximise end-of-straight speeds, the cars run in a medium downforce configuration. The aero balance is slightly different to elsewhere on the calendar because the cars are set-up to understeer in an effort to protect the rear tyres

Race Victories

  • Hamilton has 62 victories from 209 races and is second in the all-time list behind seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher (91). Vettel has 48.
  • Ferrari have won 230 races since 1950, McLaren 182, Williams 114, Mercedes 76 and Red Bull 55. Former champions McLaren and Williams have not won since 2012.

Pole Position

  • Hamilton has a record 73 career poles. Vettel has 50.
  • Max Verstappen, at 20 years old, can become the youngest ever pole sitter this season. The current youngest is Vettel, who did it at the age of 21.

Podium

  • Hamilton has 118 career podiums and is second on the all-time list behind Schumacher (155). Vettel has 100, Raikkonen 92.

Points

  • Hamilton now has 26 scoring finishes in a row and can equal Kimi Raikkonen’s all-time record of 27.
  • Four drivers on the grid have yet to score points in their F1 careers: Rookies Charles Leclerc (Sauber) and Sergey Sirotkin(Williams) and the Toro Rosso pair of Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly.
  • Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson last scored a point in 2015.

Bahrain Grand Prix

  • Vettel and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso have won three times in Bahrain, Hamilton twice.
  • This year’s race is the 14th edition. The grand prix was first held in 2004 and not run in 2011 due to civil unrest. It switched to a floodlit event in 2014.
  • The driver on pole in Bahrain has been the winner in five of the 13 races to date. It has never been won by anyone starting below the front two rows.
  • Eleven out of 13 winners have been from the team that ended up winning the constructors’ title that season. The exceptions were Alonso for Ferrari in 2010 and Vettel in 2017.

Milestone

  • In winning in Australia, Vettel became only the third driver to lead 3,000 laps in his career. The others are Schumacher and Hamilton. He also took his 100th podium.
  • Vettel is set to make his 200th start (from 201 races).

Credit: Reuters, McLaren and F1 media material