Find out how to drive as fast as a Formula 1 driver on the 2021 season-opening track of Bahrain.
Photo credit: F1 2020
Formula 1 is finally back and heading into its first race at the Bahrain International Circuit this Sunday! The venue located at Sakhir produced two incredible Grands Prix in the previous season. This is due to its fast-paced nature and some very tricky corners. Learn how to nail a perfect lap on the Grand Prix Layout with our track guide.
Turn 1 – Watch out for dive bombs
Bahrain’s first corner is already one hell of a challenge. Approach Turn 1 as far on the left as possible and brake at 120 metres down into second gear. You then need to turn in sharp in order to hit an exit close to the apex. Try to stay in the middle of the track afterwards to go flat out into Turn 2 and 3. Following these corners is a long DRS zone which you need to carry as much speed as possible into. Therefore, do not forget to deploy your ERS on the corner exit.
Also, Turn 1 offers one of the best overtaking opportunities. Your pursuers are going to try to pass you on the right, using excess speed after coming out of your slipstream. But some of them will be a bit too motivated. Therefore, always check your right mirror to avoid getting hit by a dive bomber. Otherwise, this might happen:
Turn 4 – Plenty of space for overtakes
As if Turn 1 wasn’t exciting enough, Turn 4 is soon comes along as the next key point of the circuit. The track is extremely wide here which gives opponents with excess speed from the DRS zone a lot of opportunities to overtake.
But you can also use the wide space to maximise your pace. Brake before the 50-metre-board and go for an early apex and take your car to the edge of the track limits on the exit. For a detailed explanation on how to tackle corners and apexes, read our OverTake tutorial on the perfect racing line linked below.
Turns 5,6,7 – The Tilke-S
Bahrain International Circuit was designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, who also created the layouts of many other F1 circuits like Sochi, Shanghai or the newest addition to the calendar, Jeddah.
In almost each Tilke circuit you find a section of medium-paced S-corners. Sakhir is no exception. Sweep your way through the left-right-left combination of Turn 5,6 and 7 in sixth gear and make sure you use all the kerbs.
After the S, you need to position your car on the left-hand side and brake in a straight line before the hairpin at Turn 8. Remember to decelerate early enough as the braking zone is completely downhill. Take a sharp apex to accelerate early again but avoid the inside kerb of Turn 8 as it unsettles your car.
Turn 10 – A nightmare of a corner
Afterwards, we approach one of the most challenging corners on the entire F1 calendar. Even the pro drivers in esports and real racing do not get Turn 10 right every time. But actually, the key to master Turn 10 is getting Turn 9 right.
When sweeping through the wide left-hander, stay in the middle of the track. This enables you to hit the perfect braking zone into Turn 10. Brake at the apex of Turn 9 and try to stay in a straight line. The braking zone is once again downhill, so watch out to avoid getting flat spots by locking your tyres up. Shift down into second gear and start turning in only after you finished braking. Following Turn 10 is a DRS zone on the back-straight which makes a good exit even more crucial.
Turns 11 and 12 – Lift and send it
We move to Turn 11, the prime example of a corner that looks easy but is hard to master. The braking point is located shortly before the 50-metre-board. For a perfect execution of Turn 11, shift down into fourth gear and go for an early apex. This allows you to go full throttle early again.
Your car is going to be pushed towards the outside, but do not use too much of the outside kerb as it will unsettle your car. Stay on the gas pedal all the way if possible and avoid using the inside kerb of Turn 12 or you will spin almost certainly.
Turn 14 – Fine sanding
After another long straight you head to the final corner of Bahrain. Hitting this one is more important than any other turn. A bad exit will leave you in the dust of your opponents on the start-finish-straight.
To avoid falling behind, you approach the corner as far on the left as possible and brake around 100 metres. The key to carry maximum speed into the straight is to just touch the tip of the apex without using the kerb. At the exit, use all of the space on the outside including the white line but do not touch the outer kerb. Alexander Albon had to learn that the hard way in 2020.
Now you know how to master the sandy track of Bahrain. To push the maximum out of your car, find the perfect setup for the circuit in our F1 2020 tutorial linked below.
What is your insider tip for a quick lap at Bahrain? Tell us on Twitter @overtake_gg or leave us a comment down below!