Bahrain Grand Prix: Will Sebastian Vettel reign in the heat of the desert?

Sebastian Vettel wins the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix
King of the circuit: Sebastian Vettel salutes the crowds after victory in 2017
Bahrain Grand Prix on the BBC
Dates: 6-8 April Circuit: Bahrain International
Coverage: Practice, qualifying and race across BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online. Live text commentary, leaderboard and imagery on BBC Sport website and app.

The desert can be a hostile environment. After the curtain-raiser in Melbourne, F1 heads to the Kingdom of Bahrain - home to wind-blown sands, high temperatures and twilight racing.

With membership to the five-time world champion club up for grabs this season, the rivalry between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton looks set to intensify under the dazzling floodlights.

Vettel has previous in Bahrain with three Sakhir wins to his name, a record he shares with Fernando Alonso. Ferrari, meanwhile, have five wins at the track so expectations in the Italian team's camp will be high.

And for added motivation, nine of the previous 13 winners in Bahrain have gone on to lift the drivers' championship - will race number 14 deliver the same outcome?

Daniel Ricciardo during the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2015
Fast cars, darkness and a helicopter in the skyline...is it an F1 race or a scene from The A-Team?

As a post-millennial addition to the calendar, it may not have the same kudos of, say, a Silverstone or a Monza, but there's plenty for the fans to feast their eyes on.

Located 40 minutes south-west of the city's capital Manama and built on an old camel farm, the mixture of technical corners and repeated acceleration zones means a rear-tyre blowout or an engine overheating is always a possibility.

As with most race weekends on the calendar now, spectators can look forward to a musical concert to add to the festivities. Who's headlining this one? Latin guitar maestro Carlos Santana no less.

Will it be a desert duel or an Arabian nightmare in Bahrain? Hard to say... but Black Magic Woman should sound immense in the moonlight.

Previously in F1... round one, Australia

Lewis Hamilton
Qualifying stunner for Hamilton: A world champion knows when to turn on the magic and grab first place on the grid. "I am very, very happy with that [final] lap. One of my best, I would say."
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel
Race day delight for Vettel: A miscalculation by Mercedes, tactics spot on by Ferrari. The safety car period was a thorn in Hamilton's side and podium joy for rival for Sebastian Vettel

Flashback vote

It may have been given the unfortunate nickname 'Borehrain' by some, but this track can still bring the drama - day or night.

Get voting for your memorable Bahrain Grand Prix moment from the options below.

Does the Hamilton v Rosberg Mercedes battle of 2014 take your fancy? Or how about Alonso's sweltering win in 2005?

We'll reveal the results of your favourite online during the weekend's live text commentary.

If you are viewing this page on the BBC News app please click here to vote.

The circuit

Bahrain
Unlike many other circuits on the calendar, only Turn One has a title in Bahrain. In 2014, the corner was named after seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, 10 years after his inaugural win in 2004

Back-pocket facts

  • The country gets its name from the Arabic word "al-Bahrayn" which is loosely translates to "the two seas"
  • You won't find champagne on this podium. In respect of the country's Islamic traditions, drivers spray each other with a rosewater drink known as waard instead
  • Chicken machboos, or "machboos ala dajaj" (spiced chicken and rice), is the national dish
  • Bahrain is home to "the tree of life", a 400-year-old tree that stands alone in the desert with no known source of water
  • Legend has it Bahrain could be the biblical basis of the Garden of Eden, due to its resemblance to the holy land of Dilmun

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How to follow on BBC Sport

BBC Sport has live coverage of all the season's races on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, plus live online commentary on the BBC Sport website and mobile app - including audience interaction, expert analysis, debate, voting, features, interviews and video content.

All times BST and are subject to change at short notice.

Bahrain Grand Prix coverage details
DateSessionTimeRadio coverageOnline text & audio commentary
Thursday, 5 AprilPreview20:30-21:00BBC Radio 5 live
Friday, 6 AprilFirst practice11:55-13:35BBC Radio 5 live sports extra From 11:30
Second practice15:55-17:35 BBC Sport online From 15:30
Saturday, 7 AprilThird practice12:55-14:05BBC Radio 5 live sports extraFrom 12:30
Qualifying15:55-17:05 BBC Radio 5 live sports extra From 15:00
Sunday, 8 AprilRace16:00-19:00 BBC Radio 5 live sports extra From 14:30
Monday, 9 April Review 04:30-05:00 & podcastBBC Radio 5 live

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