Bahrain Grand Prix: Sparks and sand in the desert

The first Bahrain Grand Prix was held in 2004
Listen to commentary of the Bahrain Grand Prix live on the BBC Sport website

"Yellow. Yellow ground. Yellow buildings. Yellow sky. That's Bahrain. Everything coloured by sand blown by desert winds.

"So they did the place a favour when they made it a night race. The monochrome outside the track turns black but floodlights and spotlit fountains give the Sakhir circuit a dimension it never had when the race was held in the bleaching mid-afternoon sun.

"Outside the track, the political troubles that led to the cancellation of the 2011 event have been subdued, but the undercurrent of tension remains.

"The circuit itself? Point-and-squirt, long straights, with few demanding corners, situated near an oil field and an airbase a half-hour drive or so south of the capital Manama on this tiny, troubled Gulf island.

"The paddock, festooned in palm trees draped in fairy lights, feels like an oasis. The fantasy works on television. But the realities outside are still there. Out of sight, but not out of mind."

Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer

The circuit

The Sakhir circuit attracts more than 43,000 spectators for the race. (Source: Forix)

Ready to fly

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton prepared for this weekend with an indoor skydive. After a poor start scuppered his Australian GP chances, he'll be determined to make a flying start on Sunday.

A sticky situation

Organisers spray a glue-like adhesive around the track to prevent sand being blown all over the place.

Best corners

Turn 11 offers one of the best overtaking opportunities around the track while Turn 12 can be one of the most exciting to navigate as a driver - a fast, uphill right-hander where you really have to hang on.


Jennie Gow
Listen to 5 live F1's Bahrain GP preview show on 5 live and here online from 19:30 BST

A chance of adverse weather?

Sand Storm
BBC weather's Ian Fergusson: "Strong winds from the west can bring extensive amounts of sand and dust to the circuit at any time, but the most severe, sudden and dangerous sandstorms - known as Haboobs in Arabic - are caused by downdraft winds rushing forwards across the desert from approaching thunderstorms, kicking-up vast, towering walls of dust up to 100km (62 miles) wide. Thankfully, there's no risk of one through the race weekend."

Did you know?

Fernando Alonso holds the record for the most wins in Bahrain. Of the current drivers, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel have two wins each

Local wildlife

Those on the way to the Sakhir Circuit have to be wary of a slightly unusual road hazard - crossing camels

"I have a phone in my cockpit"

We've all done it - left the wallet or keys in the car but you would perhaps not expect it in a Formula 1 car! That's what happened to Robert Kubica in 2010, when he found a mobile phone in the cockpit of his Renault during a lap of the Sakhir circuit.

The view from above

Romain Grosjean
Haas driver Romain Grosjean tweeted on Wednesday: Arrived in Bahrain. Wonderful views from the sky today ;)

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