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!
🇳🇱 Max Verstappen
From his eight appearances, Max Verstappen has reached the end of a race at Bahrain International Circuit on four occasions. He finished sixth in 2016, fourth in 2019 and finished as runner-up in both the 2020 and 2021 Bahrain Grands 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. Verstappen took pole position at the circuit for the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, recording his third consecutive top three start at the track. His pole was his first front row start at the venue.
🇲🇽 Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez became a Grand Prix winner at Bahrain International Circuit in 2020, emerging victorious in the Sakhir Grand Prix. The Mexican could have finished on the podium in both of 2020’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. On his Red Bull debut in 2021, Perez could not get into Q3 and started from the pit lane following car issues on the Formation Lap. He recovered to fifth place in the race, earning himself the Driver of the Day accolade. Perez 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. 2020 is the only season in the last seven years in which Perez has reached Q3 at this track, while 2012 and 2018 are the only seasons that Perez has lost positions over the course of a race in Bahrain.
🇬🇧 Lewis Hamilton
Coming out on top in a close fight with Max Verstappen at the season-opening race, Lewis Hamilton recorded his fifth Bahrain Grand Prix victory last season. Hamilton missed the previous race at the circuit – 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 fourteen 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 seven 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 eight Bahrain Grands Prix.
🇬🇧 George Russell
George Russell made his first appearance with Mercedes at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix on a one-off basis as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement. 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. In 2022, he makes his debut as a full-time Mercedes driver at the track. The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix is the only race in which he has scored here, though he does hold a 100% finish rate at the venue. Aside from his appearance with Mercedes, Russell is yet to qualify above fourteenth place here. Russell also competed here in F2 in 2018, finishing a best of fifth in the Feature Race.
🇲🇨 Charles Leclerc
From five previous races at Bahrain International Circuit, Charles Leclerc has scored on three occasions. 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. In 2021, Leclerc finished sixth in the Bahrain Grand Prix. He has qualified fourth on his last two appearances at the venue and has out-qualified his team-mate on three of his five outings here.
🇪🇸 Carlos Sainz
Until 2020, Carlos Sainz had never previously scored at Bahrain International Circuit, having recorded four retirements in his first five appearances at the venue. He has since turned his fortunes around at the circuit. He recorded two top five places in 2020’s pair of Bahrain races and finished eighth here on his Ferrari debut in 2021. The Spaniard’s best qualifying result at the circuit in seventh, recorded in 2019. He has out-qualified his team-mate on three of his five appearances at the track.
🇦🇺 Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo is yet to finish on the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but recorded fourth place results in both 2014 and 2016. Ricciardo has finished in the points on seven of his eleven appearances at the circuit, all seven of those being top seven results. He failed to score on his first two appearances in 2012 and 2013, and recorded successive retirements in 2018 and 2019. The Australian has never been out-qualified by a team-mate in Bahrain. Ricciardo’s best qualifying result in Bahrain is third, recorded in 2014. 2013 and 2019 are the only seasons in which he has not reached Q3 here.
🇬🇧 Lando Norris
Lando Norris has a 100% points scoring rate in Bahrain. His best result here is fourth, recorded in the 2020 and 2021 Bahrain Grands Prix. The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix is the only race at the circuit in which Norris has failed to qualify in the top ten. Norris has out-qualified his team-mate here only once, at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix when team-mate Carlos Sainz was unable to set a lap time. He has gained at least three positions from where he has started on all four F1 outings here. 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.
🇪🇸 Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso is the only driver present on the grid at the first Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004 who is still competing in F1 in 2022. 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. Until 2021, Alonso held a 100% finish record at the circuit. 2008, 2015 and 2017 are the only other years in which he has failed to score at the track. Alonso took pole position at the track in 2005 and qualified in the top ten in all eight seasons thereafter. In 2021, he reached Q3 at the circuit for the first time since 2014. From fourteen 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. The 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix was the first time in five appearances at the circuit that Ocon has failed to score. He finished last year’s race in thirteenth place. Ocon’s best qualifying result at the track in seventh, recorded at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. He failed to reach Q3 on his last two outings here – recording his first Q1 exit at the track in 2021 – and has not out-qualified his team-mate at the track since 2018.
🇫🇷 Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly’s best Bahrain Grand Prix result came on his first visit to the circuit in 2018, when he finished fourth for Toro Rosso. He’s scored twice since then, with eight and sixth places in the 2019 and 2020 Bahrain Grands Prix, but failed to score in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix and retired from the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. 2019 is the only occasion on which Gasly has not reached Q3 here. He set a new personal best qualifying result at the circuit last year with fifth place.
🇯🇵 Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda made his first F1 appearance at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. He qualified in thirteenth place and went on to finish the race in ninth place, becoming the first Japanese driver to score on their Formula 1 debut. Tsunoda 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.
🇩🇪 Nico Hulkenberg
Sebastian Vettel will miss the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus. He is replaced by Nico Hulkenberg, who makes his 180th F1 start. It’ll be his first race since the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix.
From nine previous appearances in Bahrain, Hulkenberg has scored three times. His best finish here is fifth place with Force India in 2014. His 100% finish rate at the circuit was ended on his last appearance here with Renault in 2019. Hulkenberg has reached Q3 on four of his last five appearances in Bahrain. His best qualifying result here is seventh, recorded in 2017. He also started seventh on the grid in 2018. He was eliminated in Q1 at the track for the first time in 2019.
🇨🇦 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. He scored a further point at the track in 2021, finishing in tenth place with Aston Martin. The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix marked the first time that Stroll reached Q3 at this track while the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix was the first time he has out-qualified his team-mate at the venue.
🇹🇭 Alex Albon
Alex Albon has raced in Bahrain three times previously, scoring on all three occasions. His best result to date here is third place, recorded in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. That race was the only time to date that Albon has reached Q3 at the circuit, qualifying in fourth place. He qualified twelfth on his two other outings at the venue. 2019, when he was at Toro Rosso, is the only occasion that Albon has out-qualified his team-mate in Bahrain.
🇨🇦 Nicholas Latifi
Nicholas Latifi has retired on two of his three F1 appearances at Bahrain International Circuit. His only finish here is a fourteenth place result in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix marked the first time Latifi out-qualified his team-mate in F1, with regular Williams team-mate George Russell having been replaced by rookie Jack Aitken. Latifi is yet to progress past Q1 at the circuit, with a best qualifying result of seventeenth, recorded at both the 2020 Sakhir and 2021 Bahrain Grands Prix. 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.
🇫🇮 Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas is yet to win a race at Bahrain International Circuit, but has scored on all but one of his ten 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. He returned to the podium in 2021, finishing in third place. 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 2020’s races at the circuit, recording his second pole here at the Sakhir Grand Prix. The 2019, 2020 and 2021 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.
🇨🇳 Guanyu Zhou
Guanyu Zhou will make his Formula 1 debut at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix. He has previously raced nine times at this circuit, in Formula 2. Zhou has recorded four podium finishes at the track, with his most recent appearance – the 2021 Feature Race – resulting in a win.
🇩🇪 Mick Schumacher
Mick Schumacher made his Formula 1 debut at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. After qualifying in nineteenth, Schumacher finished the race in sixteenth. Schumacher 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.
🇩🇰 Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen returns to Formula 1 at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, taking the place of Nikita Mazepin. Magnussen has scored once previously from his seven visits to the circuit. He did so with Haas in 2018, when he finished in fifth place. The Dane has recorded two retirements here, in 2014 and 2017. Magnussen has reached Q3 on three occasions in Bahrain and was eliminated in Q1 on his other four appearances. His best qualifying result here is sixth, recorded in 2019. He also lined up sixth on the grid in 2018. Of the races he’s finished here, the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix is the only one in which he has finished in a worse position than where he started.
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. 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 and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.