Bahrain Grand Prix Preview: Midfield Battle Takes Centre Stage

With Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton clinching the Constructors and Drivers titles, the focus in the closing three weeks will be on the tight midfield battles in both championships.

Hamilton clinched his record-equalling seventh World Drivers Championship with a Turkish Grand Prix victory after cold temperatures, rain and a resurfaced track wreaked havoc all weekend.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel rounded out the podium. Perez currently sits fourth in the drivers’ championship with four points separating him, Charles Leclerc for Ferrari and Daniel Ricciardo with Renault.

Track Guide

Sunday’s race will be the 14th time Formula 1 has raced at this version of the Bahrain International Circuit. Racing under the lights and three separate DRS zones will produce plenty of overtaking and slipstreaming battles.

This track has plenty of paved runoff areas and initially starts low-grip due to the wind and sand blown onto the track. However, the circuit usually improves over the weekend.

Most of the turns are sharp angles allowing for hard braking but there are sweepers opening up into DRS zones so medium to high-speed cornering and downforce will play a huge role.

Those DRS zones will emphasise the better power units and teams that can balance the trim and grip necessary to overtake and keep the tyres alive.

Last Time Out

Lance Stroll won his first career pole for Racing Point and led twice for 32 laps but suffered front wing damage which cost him an opportunity for his first win. Hamilton led the last 22 laps of the race to earn his 94th win and tie Michael Schumacher with seven World Drivers Championships.

Valtteri Bottas had a nightmare race, spinning six times and finishing a lap
down in 14th, which ended his opportunity to win the title.

Perez finished 31.633 seconds behind in second and continues to perform even with no drive as of this writing. Vettel earned his first podium since Mexico in 2019 after teammate Leclerc’s last-lap attempt to get second went awry.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz finished fifth with less than three seconds separating positions 2-5.

Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon finished sixth and seventh, followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris, Stroll and Ricciardo.

Four-way Midfield tussle

As mentioned earlier, the battle for fourth in drivers and third in constructors takes centre stage since the main titles are decided. Perez and Racing Point are five points ahead of McLaren in constructors with Renault a further 13 points back.

Ferrari’s recent resurgence brings them within 24 points of Racing Point with vital aero development time on the line depending on their finish with the new cost cap in play for 2021.

Perez is still looking for a ride in 2021 and could finish best of the rest with Leclerc and Ricciardo both standing in the way of his best points finish of his career.

Session Times

Practice 1: 27 November 14:00 – 15:30 (6-7:30 AM EST)
Practice 2: 27 November 18:00 – 19:30 (10-11:30 AM EST)
Practice 3: 28 November 14:00 – 15:00 (6-7 AM EST)
Qualifying: 28 November 17:00 – 18:00 (9-10 AM EST)
Race: 29 November 17:10 – 19:10 (9:10-11:10 AM EST)


Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Bahrain Grand Prix weekend? Host Louis Edwards with panellists Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Soumil Arora stared in Grid Talk’s Bahrain Grand Prixview.

Video and audio versions of the show are linked below:

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