|Race Date:||21-23 April|
|Circuit Name:||Bahrain F1 Circuit|
|Circuit Length:||6.299 km|
|Race Distance:||308.405 km|
|Lap Record:||M Schumacher - 1:30.252(04)|
Bahrain’s is the third consecutive track on the 2013 calendar to have been designed by Hermann Tilke, who again did his utmost to blend local influences with the needs of modern F1 cars. The first pole-sitter there was Michael Schumacher, in his Ferrari heyday in 2004, whose time of 1:30.139 was by the German’s own admission “right on the limit and sometimes over it”. From an all-Ferrari front row he completed the job with the race win ahead of teammate Rubens Barrichello and Honda’s Jenson Button.
There was major work to the circuit ahead of the 2010 edition, which meant that the track extended from its original 5.412km to 6.299km, an 887-metre addition after Turn 4 that was sinuous enough to increase the number of corners quite significantly. The drivers didn’t like it: Bahrain reverted to its original 5.412km for the 2012 race, won by Sebastian Vettel from pole position for Red Bull Renault.
If you’re wondering what happened in 2011, the answer is: nothing. The uncertain situation in the Middle East led to the postponement and eventual cancellation of Bahrain’s round for that season, meaning there have been eight races in all at the desert circuit some 30km south of the capital city, Manama.
Bahrain hosted the season-opener in 2010, when Schumacher again loomed large. This time the seven-time World Champion was starting his comeback with the ‘new’ Mercedes team. It was Michael’s 250th Grand Prix start, but victory went to the new darling of Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, on his debut for the Maranello team.
Alonso’s outstanding start in a scarlet car owed something to fortune – Sebastian Vettel led handsomely but had to retire when, of all things, a cheap-as-chips spark plug caused an engine failure. As this was the first race of the new points-scoring system, Alonso was also the first driver to earn 25 points for a Grand Prix victory.
In 2009 Jarno Trulli made the Bahrain headlines with pole position for the now-defunct Toyota team and Timo Glock made it an all-Toyota front row. It was the Italian veteran’s first pole position since Indianapolis in 2005 and his last to date; the fastest race lap was also Trulli’s, his first in F1 and his only one so far. Perhaps reacting to the earthquake that had struck his home country shortly before, Trulli also raced to third place behind Button and Vettel.