Two current drivers have claimed their maiden pole position in Bahrain, while four current drivers have previously won at the Bahrain International Circuit. Here’s everything you need to know about each driver’s history at the Bahrain Grand Prix!
?? LEWIS HAMILTON
Lewis Hamilton recorded his fourth Bahrain Grand Prix victory last season. He missed the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus. Hamilton has finished on the podium at the track in every year of the V6 hybrid era, and also finished in the top three in 2007 and 2010. From his thirteen appearances at Bahrain International Circuit, Hamilton has never failed to finish, and 2008 is the only season that he has left the track without scoring a point. Hamilton has qualified on the front row at the Bahrain Grand Prix six times, including with three pole positions. His pole at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix was his first here since 2017. Hamilton has led at least one lap in all of the last seven Bahrain Grands Prix.
?? VALTTERI BOTTAS
Valtteri Bottas is yet to win a race at Bahrain International Circuit, but has scored on all but one of his nine appearances at the track. He finished on the podium here in every season between 2017 and 2019, but finished only eighth in both of 2020’s races at the circuit. 2013, when he finished fourteenth, is the only time that Bottas has failed to score at the track. Bottas took the first pole position of his career at the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix. He also started from the front row in both of last year’s races at the circuit, recording his second pole here at the Sakhir Grand Prix. The 2019 and 2020 Bahrain Grands Prix are the only occasions on which Bottas has been out-qualified by his team-mate at the track, while 2013 is the only time he has not reached Q3.
?? MAX VERSTAPPEN
From his seven appearances, Max Verstappen has reached the end of a race at Bahrain International Circuit on only three occasions. He finished sixth in 2016, fourth in 2019 and recorded his first podium at the track in 2020 with second place at the Bahrain Grand Prix. His four other races here have ended in retirement. He retired on his first appearance in 2015, and on his first appearance with Red Bull in 2017. He was out after only three laps in 2018 and crashed out on the opening lap in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. Last season marked the first time that Verstappen qualified in the top three at Bahrain International Circuit, with him qualifying in third place at both the Bahrain and Sakhir Grands Prix. He is yet to start from the front row at the track.
?? SERGIO PEREZ
Sergio Perez became a Grand Prix winner at Bahrain International Circuit last year, emerging victorious in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. The Mexican could have finished on the podium in both of last year’s races at the track, but an engine failure saw him retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix, bringing an end to his 100% finish rate at the circuit. Perez has an additional podium finish here, having finished third for Force India in 2014. He qualified in fifth for both races at the circuit in 2020, equalling his previous best qualifying result at the track from 2014 – though in 2014 he ultimately lined up fourth on the grid. Until last year, 2014 was also the last time that Perez reached Q3 at the circuit. 2012 and 2018 are the only seasons that Perez has lost positions over the course of a race in Bahrain.
?? DANIEL RICCIARDO
Daniel Ricciardo retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix in both 2018 and 2019, but picked up points in both races at the track last year. The Australian is yet to finish on the podium at Bahrain International Circuit, but has finished fourth twice – in 2014 and 2016. Meanwhile, 2013 and 2019 are the only seasons that Ricciardo has failed to reach Q3 at the track. His best qualifying result here is third in 2014 – though he started thirteenth as the result of a penalty. That year, Ricciardo gained nine places from where he started. The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix – in which he gained two positions – is the only other race at the circuit in which Ricciardo has gained multiple positions from where he started.
?? LANDO NORRIS
Lando Norris has scored on all three F1 outings at Bahrain International Circuit. Norris scored his first Formula 1 points at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix with a sixth place finish. He bettered that in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix with fourth place, before finishing tenth in the Sakhir Grand Prix. The Sakhir Grand Prix is the only race at the circuit in which Norris has failed to reach Q3. His best qualifying result here is ninth, recorded at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. He has gained at least three positions from where he has started on all three F1 outings here. He is yet to out-qualify his team-mate in a fair battle at the track. Prior to his F1 career, Norris took victory on his Formula 2 debut at the Bahrain International Circuit in 2018. It proved to be the only win of his solitary F2 season. He also finished fourth in the Sprint Race.
?? SEBASTIAN VETTEL
With thirteenth in the Bahrain Grand Prix and twelfth in the Sakhir Grand Prix, 2020 marked the first time that Sebastian Vettel has finished races at Bahrain International Circuit in positions outside of the points. His only other point-less visits to Bahrain were in 2008, when he retired, and in 2016, when he failed to start – recording the only DNS of his career. Vettel has won the Bahrain Grand Prix four times in total, while his second place in 2009 is the only other time that he has finished on the podium here. Vettel has taken three pole positions in Bahrain and has qualified on the front row on six occasions. He failed to reach Q3 at either of 2020’s races at the track, those races joining 2008 and 2014 as the only times Vettel has not reached Q3 at the track. Vettel has led laps of the race on seven of his Bahrain Grand Prix appearances.
?? LANCE STROLL
Lance Stroll equalled his career-best result with third place at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. It was the first time that he scored at Bahrain International Circuit. From his previous four appearances, he finished fourteenth in the 2018 and 2019 races, and retired in 2017 and at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. In 2017, he was taken out at the pit exit by Carlos Sainz, while in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix his car was flipped in an incident with Daniil Kvyat. The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix marked the first time that Stroll reached Q3 at this track. He is still yet to out-qualify his team-mate here. Stroll has gained at least four positions from where he has started in all three races he has completed at the track.
?? FERNANDO ALONSO
Fernando Alonso has won the Bahrain Grand Prix three times. He took back-to-back victories in his championship winning years, before winning on his Ferrari debut in 2010. Alonso holds a 100% finish record at Bahrain International Circuit, with 2008, 2015 and 2017 being the only years in which he has failed to score. On his most recent appearance, in 2018, he finished seventh. Alonso took pole position at the track in 2005 and qualified in the top ten in all eight seasons thereafter. He has not reached Q3 here since 2014, but is yet to be eliminated in Q1. From his thirteen appearances, Alonso has been out-qualified by his team-mate only four times – most recently in 2014.
?? ESTEBAN OCON
Esteban Ocon recorded his first podium finish at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, finishing in second place. He has scored on all four F1 outings at the circuit, finishing tenth in 2017 and 2018 and ninth at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. Ocon is yet to record a Q1 elimination at the track, and has reached Q3 at the 2018 and 2020 Bahrain Grands Prix. His best qualifying position here is seventh, recorded at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
?? CHARLES LECLERC
Charles Leclerc took his maiden Formula 1 pole position at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix. He was set for his first victory too, until a late race engine issue saw him able to finish only third – still picking up his first podium finish. Leclerc failed to improve on that result at either of 2020’s races in Bahrain. He picked up a single point in the Bahrain Grand Prix, before crashing out on Lap 1 at the Sakhir Grand Prix. Leclerc qualified an impressive fourth for the Sakhir Grand Prix, having been eliminated in Q2 one week previously. From his four appearances at the track, Leclerc has out-qualified his team-mate twice.
?? CARLOS SAINZ
Until 2020, Carlos Sainz had never previously scored at Bahrain International Circuit. He turned his fortunes around at the track around last year, recording top five finishes in both Bahrain races. He finished fifth in the Bahrain Grand Prix and fourth in the Sakhir Grand Prix. Sainz retired from all three of his first appearances at the track and prior to 2020 his eleventh place in 2018 was the only time he had reached the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sainz has reached Q3 here on four occasions, with a best qualifying result of seventh in 2019. He was unable to reach Q3 at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix following mechanical issues.
?? PIERRE GASLY
The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix was the first race in four appearances at the circuit in which Pierre Gasly has failed to score. He finished in the top eight in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Bahrain Grands Prix, with a best finish of fourth with Toro Rosso in 2018. Finishing eleventh in the Sakhir Grand Prix, the Frenchman holds a 100% finish record at the track. 2019 is the only occasion on which Gasly has not reached Q3 here. His best qualifying result so far is sixth place in 2018 – which became fifth on the final grid.
?? YUKI TSUNODA
This will be Yuki Tsunoda’s first appearance at the Bahrain Grand Prix. He has past experience at the track, having partaken in the four F2 races at the circuit in 2020. While on the first weekend Tsunoda finished sixth and fifteenth in the Feature Race and Sprint Race respectively, he won the Feature Race over the Sakhir Grand Prix weekend and finished as runner-up in the Sprint Race on his final F2 outing.
?? KIMI RAIKKONEN
Kimi Raikkonen has finished on the Bahrain Grand Prix podium eight times, but has never won the event. He has finished as runner-up five times, most recently in 2016. Aside from his retirements in 2004 and 2018, last year’s pair of Bahrain races are the only times that the Finn has completed a race here outside of the points-paying positions. Raikkonen failed to set a time in qualifying in both 2004 and 2006, while 2012 and 2020’s races are the only other times he has not reached the top ten in qualifying at the track. He has never taken pole position at the circuit, and 2018 is the only season that Raikkonen has started on the front row at the circuit. 2013, 2014 and 2019 are the only seasons that Raikkonen has out-qualified his team-mate at the Bahrain International Circuit, while 2014 is the only time that Raikkonen has finished in a worse position than where he started in all of his fourteen finishes at the circuit.
?? ANTONIO GIOVINAZZI
Though he holds a 100% finish rate at Bahrain International Circuit, Antonio Giovinazzi is yet to pick up a point at the circuit. His best finish here is thirteenth place in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. His best qualifying result at the track was also recorded that weekend, with fourteenth place – marking his first appearance in Q2 at the venue. Giovinazzi out-qualified team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at both of 2020’s Bahrain races.
?? MICK SCHUMACHER
Mick Schumacher has previously raced at Bahrain International Circuit in Formula 2 in 2019 and 2020. From the six races in which he has competed at the track, he has scored in five of them. His best result was fourth in the first Bahrain Feature Race in the 2020 season. Schumacher won the F2 title at this circuit over the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix weekend.
?? NIKITA MAZEPIN
Like his team-mate, Nikita Mazepin raced in Bahrain in Formula 2 in 2019 and 2020. His best result was second in the Sprint Race over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend. The Russian driver caused controversy over the Sakhir Grand Prix weekend with defensive moves which nearly saw him forcing his rivals into the pit wall. In the Feature Race, Mazepin originally finished in third place, but was handed two five-second penalties which saw him drop to ninth.
?? GEORGE RUSSELL
George Russell proved his worth at Bahrain International Circuit in 2020 in a one-off appearance for Mercedes. Having narrowly missed out on pole, Russell stormed ahead at the start and maintained the lead for most of the evening, until pit stop issues robbed him of a likely victory. Nevertheless, Russell finished ninth and set the Fastest Lap, recording the first points of his career. From his three appearances at the track, Russell has recorded one Q1 exit, one Q2 elimination and one Q3 appearance. Russell also competed here in F2 in 2018, finishing a best of fifth in the Feature Race.
?? NICHOLAS LATIFI
Nicholas Latifi finished one of last year’s two F1 races at Bahrain International Circuit. He finished the Bahrain Grand Prix in fourteenth, but failed to reach the end of the Sakhir Grand Prix. The Sakhir Grand Prix marked the first time that Latifi out-qualified his team-mate in F1, with regular team-mate George Russell having been replaced by rookie Jack Aitken. Latifi has previously raced at the Bahrain International Circuit in GP2 in 2015, where he scored no points, and in F2 in every year from 2017 to 2019. From his six F2 races at the track, Latifi scored on three occasions. He finished on the podium in both of the 2019 races at the track, winning the Feature Race and finishing third in the Sprint Race.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.