Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix stats preview

2017 Bahrain Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton could take his seventh consecutive pole position in Bahrain this weekend.

That would tie his personal best and leave him one shy of the all-time record held by Ayrton Senna. He’s also drawing closer to the all-time pole positions record held by Michael Schumacher, who has 68 to Hamilton’s 63.

If Hamilton takes his 64th this weekend – or if Valtteri Bottas gets his first – that would be the fifth consecutive pole in Bahrain for Mercedes. But they might not have things all their own way this weekend.

Race history

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017
Alonso is yet to finish a race this year
Mercedes could face a renewed threat from Ferrari on the hot Bahrain track. The Scuderia hasn’t won the Bahrain Grand Prix since 2010, when Fernando Alonso won the only race held on the extended version of the track.

Alonso is the most successful driver at this track with three victories. But far from competing for wins this year he is yet to finish a race this year. Only Lance Stroll is in the same situation.

Stroll’s team mate Felipe Massa has won twice at this circuit, as have Vettel and Hamilton. Although Raikkonen has never won at this track he has been consistently strong in Bahrain, taking eight podium finishes at the track. He shares the record for scoring the most podium finishes in a race without winning it with Alonso, who also has eight win-less podiums in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The form book

A notable feature of the first two races of 2017 has been how much Hamilton’s starts have improved. He took pole position for the first two races of the year but kept the lead at both starts. Last year he lost a total of eleven places on lap one in the first two races.

Following his superb start in China, Max Verstappen has gained the most places on lap one so far this year, a total of nine. Stroll and Alonso have gained six each, but that doesn’t count for much when you don’t finish.

Alonso has run strongly, however. He has spent every lap he’s been on the track this year higher than 12th, while team mate Stoffel Vandoorne has spent every lap lower than 12th.

Lap times

No race was held in 2011 and a different track configuration was used in 2004 and 2010.

Formula One established a new circuit record in Bahrain last year, knocking a scant 0.034s off the old 2005 record. This year’s cars are considerably quicker in the corners but increased drag could make them slower on the straights.

Overtaking

Source: Mercedes

Bahrain is typically a circuit which sees high amounts of overtaking. Last year the majority of it happened in the DRS zones.

Race ratings

Here’s how F1 Fanatic readers have rated the Bahrain Grand Prix in recent years.

Join in Rate the Race when the chequered flag falls at the end of this year’s race. You will need a (free) F1 Fanatic account to participate:

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

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20 comments on “2017 Bahrain Grand Prix stats preview”

  1. He took pole position for the first two races of the year but kept the lead at both starts. Last year he lost a total of eleven places on lap one in the first two races.

    I wouldn’t call that a fair way to judge that his starts have improved but subjectively….they do look better.

    1. Australia was bad for both Mercs, with Hamilton having the extra issue of being ran wide by Rosberg at the first corner. At Bahrain (the second race last year) Hamilton was hit by Bottas at the first corner. So yeah it doesn’t seem particularly fair to judge against those numbers.

  2. Gavin Campbell
    13th April 2017, 17:37

    What was the different configuration used in 2004? I only remember the bizzare choice to use the endurance cirucit for the 50th F1 season – even Tilke was like “no – its not for F1 cars”. If Tilke’s not rating it for a F1 race you know your in trouble!

    1. They made a small change to T4. In 2004 the exit of the corner was tighter, so they made it wider for the next GP.

  3. I’m surprised at Vettel’s poor starts. That doesn’t seem in character for him. I am thinking Vettel is going to be doing a lot of practice starts.

    1. It’s Ferrari poor starts more like, or Mercedes good starts. Mercedes had help from other technical departments to get a handle on it. Seemingly it worked. You can see Mercedes have better starts than Ferrari now.

  4. 2014 shows perfectly that it’s not the quantity of overtakes, it’s the quality of the racing that counts. Less overtaking than in 2013 and 2016, but more non-DRS passes and great battles, not just at the front but throughout the field.

    I hadn’t realised that the 2004 track was different, but a quick search does indeed show a lap was officially classed as 5 metres shorter. I’m very excited for this round. A part of me really hopes to see a resurgence from Kimi, with an overdue (both at this track and in general) win. Either way I hope there is a good battle up front

    1. @strontium Well, no one notices a difference of 5 meters, and furthermore, a distance that short doesn’t make a difference in lap time either, so I don’t regard it as a difference circuit layout.

      1. @jerejj Tell that to Bottas.

        1. @rethla What does he have to do with this?

          1. @jerejj
            Bottas lost out to Vettel by less than 5m in the China qualifying.

  5. What I think the Bahrain 2014 statistics show more than anything is that a great race isn’t even defined by an overtake. Rosberg failed to successfully overtake Hamilton yet it was the best battle of the season, maybe even of the 2014-2016 rule era.

    We don’t always need a pass to be completed to enjoy what we’re seeing, and a straight line pass can’t hold a candle to drivers tussling wheel to wheel with each other.

    I fear the odds are against such a battle this year though, despite the new tyres being up to the job of withstanding aggressive racing, the aero is much more sensitive than the stripped down aero we had early in 2014. We now seem to have a combination of high down force load levels of the mid-2000’s, and highly intricate and thus sensitive aero devices as has been the trend in the last 3 years.

    1. wasn’t that the race Hamilton overtook Rosberg offtrack? a penalty not given that year, but since has been enforced. Hamilton tried the same thing last year at Barcelona and ended up taking both Mercedes out of the race. you cant keep your foot in it when you are hitting the end of the track limits, especially when your competitor has achieved one FAIR block maneuver.

  6. I was confused by the first paragraph stating Lewis might get his 7th consecutive pole in Bahrain and Mercedes their 5th consecutive pole in Bahrain.

    At first I thought it meant the last 7 races “in Bahrain” as the text says and also the last 5 races “in Bahrain” again as the text says. But that isn’t right, because I knew for a fact that Rosberg beat Lewis to pole in 2014.

    Then I thought it meant the last 7 races in 2016 and 2017 for Lewis and the last 5 for Mercedes, but that would be strange considering Lewis isn’t driving for Mercedes since the last 5 races of course.

    So I actually had to look up the facts to conclude that it was indeed Hamilton who had pole position the last 4 races in 2016 and both in 2017 of course. But for Mercedes it actually could be the 5th consecutive in Bahrain.

    I don’t mean to nitpick, but it really came across as if Hamilton had 7 consecutive poles in Bahrain, it literally says that. Especially since the sentence about Mercedes has exactly the same words to describe two completely different things. It should’ve said “In Bahrain, Lewis could take his seventh consecutive pole position this weekend”.

    1. No it doesn’t, it literally says…

      Lewis Hamilton could take his seventh consecutive pole position in Bahrain this weekend.

      I don’t see the confusion. He can take his 7th consecutive pole in Bahrain this weekend. Like Cluedo, Colonel mustard in the dining room with the lead pipe.

      1. To be fair to Rick it can be read both ways, and so can be confusing if you don’t already know the stats

  7. …but increased drag could make them slower on the straights.

    @keithcollantine – During the Chinese GP, Steve Matchett on the US feed (NBCSN) was saying that while this had been a concern, the speeds on the straights weren’t much slower–if at all. And that the cornering speeds were up. I’d be curious after we get a few more GPs into the season if the 2017 speed traps are that much lower than recent years.

  8. May I ask how are the temperatures affected by the lack of sunlight? Is the track hot even at night?

  9. Well, let’s hope Stoffel can up his game and get McLaren’s first point on the board in Bahrian, like he did last year.

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