Formula 1

PREVIEW: 2020 Formula 1 Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit

3 Mins read
Credit: LAT Images

The 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship heads into its penultimate race at the Sakhir Grand Prix, the second of two races at Bahrain.

Unlike the races at Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring this year, the second race at Bahrain is using a different track layout. The twenty drivers will be going around the outer circuit, making it one of the shortest laps in Formula 1 history.

What happened at the Bahrain Grand Prix?

The Bahrain Grand Prix rocked the world when we saw the most horrific accident in recent F1 history. On the first lap, Romain Grosjean collied with the barrier on the straight after Turn 3, splitting his car in two and engulfing his car in flames. It took the broadcasting team around five minutes before they could confirm Grosjean had managed to walk away from the incident and was transferred to a local hospital. He suffered burns to his hands and his ankles. 

The Grosjean incident caused the race to be red flagged while they picked up all the debris, removed the car from track and fixed the now broken barriers. 

The race eventually restarted about an hour after the race was red flagged but was soon brought to another halt due to Lance Stroll’s car being flipped over after contact with Daniil Kvyat. Luckily, the race didn’t need to be red flagged and the next couple of laps happened under the safety car.

From then onwards, the race was relatively calm but with plenty of overtakes in the midfield battle.

Sergio Pérez, who was running in third, had to unfortunately retire from the race with just four laps left. On the previous lap, the back of his car started to blow out smoke. Pérez soldiered on with a second podium of the year in sight but had to eventually pull over when the back start to set on fire. 

This brought out another safety car, which stayed out till the end of the race. Lewis Hamilton was the victor with Max Verstappen behind him in second and Alexander Albon in third, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s first double podium of the year.

The circuit

The outer track is 3.543km in distance and drivers will race around the circuit 87 times, making a total race distance of 307.995km. This will be the first time F1 has used this layout of the track, so no lap record has been recorded. However, qualifying laps are expected to be sub-one minute.

The track has just eleven corners, three to the left and eight to the right. The main focus is the three straights giving drivers multiple areas to overtake. 

Credit: Pirelli Media

Sectors, Corners and DRS zones

Sector One consists of Turn 1 to Turn 3. Sector Two has the most corners with Turn 4 through to Turn 9 and in Sector Three we have just two corners, Turn 10 and Turn 11.

This track is built for speed and to help drivers there are two DRS Detection Zones. The first detection zone starts as you go into Turn 1, ready to blast off on the straight that starts at Turn 4. The second detection zone is just before Turn 10 with DRS kicking in on the pit straight.

Tyre Strategy

Drivers will be using the same types of compounds as they did at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Just to recap, Pirelli chose the mid-range compounds of C2 white-striped hard, C3 yellow-striped medium and C4 red-striped soft.

What should we look out for this year?

Lewis Hamilton will be missing the Sakhir Grand Prix due to testing positive for COVID-19. George Russell will be taking his place for the weekend with Williams Racing reserve driver Jack Aitken taking reins of Russell’s car.

Romain Grosjean will also be out of the race on medical grounds with Haas F1 Team reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi taking his place.

The battle for third in the Constructors Championship had its second change in as many races. McLaren F1 Team now hold the coveted spot but BWT Racing Point Formula One Team and Renault DP World F1 Team are still close by in fourth and fifth respectively.

Daniel Ricciardo now reclaimed fourth place back in the Drivers’ Championship after the late retirement of Pérez. It’s still a tight battle with Charles Leclerc not too far behind.

Whats the schedule?

Friday 4 December

13:30 GMT / 16:00 Local Time – Free Practice one

17:30 GMT / 20:30 Local Time – Free Practice two

Saturday 5 December

14:00 GMT / 17:00 Local Time – Free Practice three

17:00 GMT / 20:00 Local Time – Qualifying

Sunday 6 December

17:10 GMT / 20:10 Local Time – Race

How can I keep up with the action?

Follow all the action at The Checkered Flag with our extensive coverage, quotes and analysis of every session of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

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