After months traipsing across Europe, Formula One is heading to Bahrain for back-to-back race weekends as the season’s conclusion looms.
And it’s set to provide two weekends of incredible drama – particularly the second week, which will take place on a ‘bonkers’ new-look circuit.
The first race will take place on the standard 5.4km track at the Sakhir Circuit, which has been in use for nearly two decades. But the second weekend will take place on the 3.5 km outer track – a high-speed loop that is expected to see lap times of under a minute!
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Williams driver George Russell said: “It is definitely going to be bonkers, that’s for sure.
“I think it’s exciting because the lap times are going to be so close. I reckon everybody will probably be within a second in qualifying, which means if you make one small mistake, you can be losing loads of positions on Saturday.
“I think it’s going to be giving absolutely everything you’ve got, making sure you nail the lap, because there more than anywhere if you do make a mistake, you don’t have enough corners to make that lap time back.
“It will probably be a bit of a mess on Saturday, because everyone will be looking for a slipstream. There’s probably not enough space to fit 20 cars on there. And the racing is going to be so pretty wacky. So that’ll be exciting.”
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For Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, Bahrain hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground. In 2019, he retired four laps from the finish, as did teammate Nico Hulkenberg. It was a similar story the year before, when Ricciardo was part of another double-retirement, then for Red Bull.
“In recent years, I haven’t had the best results in but I’m looking to set that right this weekend,” he said.
“I’m feeling much more on top of the car since we were last in Bahrain so I think we should be in a good place. We also have a bit of unfinished business there after last season, so I’m pretty hungry and fired up.”