Bahrain International Circuit

Location Bahrain Track Length 5.412 km Laps 57
Lap Record 1:31.447 LapRecordDriver P de la Rosa (2005)

Bahrain Grand Prix F1 circuit guide

The Formula 1 season will get underway at the Bahrain International Circuit for the third consecutive year in 2023 with the season opener taking place there in March.

The circuit has played host to the Bahrain Grand Prix since its inauguration in 2004.

Based in Sakhir, the 'Grand Prix Circuit' covers a distance of 3.363 miles and features 15 turns, and was the first Formula 1 race to be held in the Middle East.

Initially, the Bahrain Grand Prix was held during daylight hours, but from 2014, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the first staging of the Bahrain Grand Prix, the event became a night race.

Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher had the honour of winning the first Bahrain Grand Prix for Ferrari in 2004, while Fernando Alonso was the first repeat winner of the race, taking P1 in 2005 and again in 2006 after seeing off Schumacher in a race-long battle, making 2006 one of the all-time classic Bahrain GPs.

The 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix can be uttered in the same sentence as Lewis Hamilton came out on top against then Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in a back-and-forth battle to the line.

Bahrain Grand Prix F1 circuit information

The Bahrain International Circuit is somewhat of an all-rounder, favouring an engine with the highest power but also demanding a plentiful supply of downforce for it's mixture of straights, bends and tight corners.

In 2010 the "Endurance Circuit" layout was used for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but that proved to be a one-off. Another one-off occurred in 2020 when the "Outer Circuit" was used to form the Sakhir Grand Prix, helping Formula 1 complete a race season in the midst of a pandemic.

Turn 1 - Hard on the brakes as the main straight ends with a sharp 90-degrees right.
Turn 2 - A left kink where the wide track and kerbs allow the drivers to continue their acceleration uninterrupted.
Turn 3 - Barely a turn, just a slight adjustment to the right and easily full throttle.
Turn 4 - A short straight into another sharp right but the track opens up as the drivers accelerate out, use the left kerb on exit.
Turn 5 - A minor left turn.
Turn 6 - The first stage of a fast right-to-left section. Brake for Turn 6.
Turn 7 - Then it's back on the throttle before and through the second section.
Turn 8 - A tight right hairpin which provides a good opportunity for overtaking.
Turn 9 - A right curve which requires drivers to brake mid-corner for what's to come.
Turn 10 - One of the tightest and most difficult corners on the F1 calendar. Under braking turn for this 90-degress left, an overtaking place for the bravest but also super easy to get it all wrong.
Turn 11 - Up to eighth gear down the back straight then lift off through the left bend of Turn 11, accelerating as it opens up.
Turn 12 - A rather wide and low-key right bend to be taken at full throttle.
Turn 13 - Another turn where drivers must change course under braking, bare right to nail the apex of this right-hander.
Turn 14 - The final straight of the lap but the brakes have one more workout to negotiate this right turn.
Turn 15 - Effectively the exit of Turn 14 so just take the kerb to secure the best exit down the main straight and make sure to obey track limits.

Bahrain Grand Prix schedule: 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

Friday 3 March

Free practice 1: 14:30-15:30 local [11:30-12:30 UK]
Free practice 2: 18:00-19:00 local [15:00-16:00 UK]

Saturday 4 March

Free practice 3: 14:30-15:30 local [11:30-12:30 UK]
Qualifying: 18:00 local [15:00 UK]

Sunday 5 March

Race: 18:00 local [1500 UK]

Bahrain Grand Prix tickets: how to get them for the big race

You can get tickets for the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix via a number of reliable online sites including the official Formula 1 website and

Three-day tickets covering the entire race weekend start at €195.62 with the cheapest ones being for the Victory Grandstand taking in views of the final corners, closely followed by the University Grandstand, located close to Turns 2 and 3. The most costly are Main Grandstand tickets which are available for €508.61.

You can also purchase tickets for Friday only or for Saturday and Sunday, but the Batelco Grandstand is the only place available on the official F1 site for these options.

If you fancy plonking yourself in the Corporate Lounge for the race weekend, then be prepared to pay north of €3,400, with Friday being the only single-day pass costing less than €1000.

Also make sure to check out F1 Experiences for packages to make your Bahrain GP experience extra special, while the Bahrain International Circuit website also sell tickets directly for the event, complete with a handy interactive map to help you select the perfect spot.

Bahrain Grand Prix directions: how to get there

Bahrain International Airport (BAH) is situated just east of Bahrain’s capital, Manama. Bahrain's Gulf Air is based there and offers direct flights from the Middle East, Europe and parts of Asia.

From there a taxi is the best option since public transport doesn't service the circuit.

But, it's Bahrain after all, so how does a private chauffeur-driven car or limo sound? Also note that the race organizers put on a free shuttle bus from the airport to the circuit and to/from selected hotels during race week.

Bahrain Grand Prix history, memorable races and past winners

The Bahrain Grand Prix certainly isn't just on the grid for glamour, instead it has proven over the years to be one of the best racing circuits that Formula 1 has to offer.

Its series of straights and hard braking zones make for the perfect overtaking recipe, as was demonstrated by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg as they scrapped it out in the 2014 Mercedes W05, making for one of the best F1 races in the turbo-hybrid era.

Hamilton equalled Sebastian Vettel's four victories on the Bahrain International Circuit when he came out on top in 2020.

That's not the reason the 2020 race will always be remembered though, as it was Bahrain where Romain Grosjean's car split in half and caught fire after he collided with the barrier on the first lap, and the Haas driver remarkably escaped with only minor burns thanks to the halo saving his life. 

The 2021 edition of the race kicked off the titanic title fight between Hamilton and Max Verstappen with the Mercedes driver crossing the line less than a second ahead of the Dutchman, while Verstappen's tussle with 2022 Bahrain GP race winner Charles Leclerc was the perfect introduction for F1's new overtaking-friendly challengers.

Drivers with most wins

Lewis Hamilton, 5 wins (2014, 2015, 2019, 2020, 2021)

Sebastian Vettel, 4 wins (2012, 2013, 2017, 2018)

Fernando Alonso, 3 wins (2005, 2006, 2010)

Felipe Massa, 2 wins (2007, 2008)

Teams with most wins

Ferrari, 7 wins (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2017, 2018, 2022)

Mercedes, 6 wins (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021)

Renault, 2 wins (2005, 2006)

Red Bull, 2 wins (2012, 2013)

Last 10 wins

2022 - Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2021 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2020 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2019 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2018 - Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
2017 - Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
2016 - Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2015 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2014 - Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2013 - Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull

Bahrain International Circuit F1 circuit fastest lap

Pedro de la Rosa still holds the lap record at the Bahrain International Circuit, setting a 1:31.447 whilst driving for McLaren in the 2005 Bahrain Grand Prix.

The qualifying lap record comes courtesy of Lewis Hamilton's 2020 pole time, after setting a 1:27.264 for Mercedes, beating Charles Leclerc's 2019 time of 1:27.866 for Ferrari.

Bahrain International Circuit F1 circuit: what the drivers say

Carlos Sainz: "The circuit can be tough on the braking system, and some braking points change slightly throughout the weekend due to the timings of the sessions. It’s always cool racing at night and under the lights, which makes this race one of the more unique of the calendar."

Daniel Ricciardo: "It’s actually quite a tricky event as the practice sessions are in the heat of the day but the important sessions, qualifying and the race, are in the evening when the track cools so you have to be very adaptive with the set-up."