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.
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.
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.
Bahrain is typically a circuit which sees high amounts of overtaking. Last year the majority of it happened in the DRS zones.
Here’s how F1 Fanatic readers have rated the Bahrain Grand Prix in recent years.
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2017 Bahrain Grand Prix
- Vettel voted Driver of the Weekend for the fourth time in six races
- 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix team radio transcript
- Bahrain Grand Prix gets second-highest rating in a decade
- Why Hamilton’s penalty didn’t cost him a Bahrain win
- Top ten pictures from the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix