Top 5 Bahrain Grands Prix
It’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane and go over some classic sporting moments, and before each race of the 2023 F1 season, I’ll be doing exactly that be re-visiting the 5 best races that have been produced from each Grand Prix.
With round 1 upon us, we head to Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix. And while traditionally it maybe hasn’t been the greatest race since it first appeared on the F1 calendar in 2004, it has still produced a few classics that are fondly remembered since.
So, let’s get to it.
5. 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix - Winner: Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
Anyone who remembers Robert Kubica coming into F1 was always waiting for the day he would score his first pole position so we could see the ‘Pole on Pole’ headline. Well that day came in 2008 when he scored the only pole in the history of the Sauber (then BMW) team. And while he wasn’t able to convert it into his first ever win, Kubica drove a solid race to what was only his third ever podium in Formula 1. Out the front, it was a dominant race for the Ferrari pair of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, one of four Ferrari 1-2s seen at the Sakhir circuit.
4. 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix - Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Sebastian Vettel took the win in his 200th race after holding off a fast charging Valtteri Bottas in his Mercedes. Vettel lead from pole and had to hold on to the race with very worn tires after a pit stop error with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen forced Ferrari into a one stop strategy with the German instead of the planned two. Lewis Hamilton held on to third after an early collision with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull saw him charge back through the field and pull off a famous triple pass on Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon & Nico HUlkenberg into turn one.
3. 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix - Winner: Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
Technically this was the ‘Sakhir Grand Prix’ and was run on the sprint format of the circuit, but it was held in Bahrain so I’m counting it. Sergio Perez had waited 190 races to taste the winners champagne for the first time and did so after been taken out by Charles Leclerc on lap 1. He fought his way beautifully through the field, and after several errors by drivers and teams in front of him, stormed to one of the most famous wins of the 21st century. An iconic drive from the popular Mexican.
2. 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix - Winner: Fernando Alonso (Renault)
2006 saw the first time since 1995 that Melbourne didn’t host the opening round of the Formula 1 season due to that years Commonwealth Games. It was definitely odd to experience at the time, but we were witness to a pretty great race. A resurgent Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid after a disappointing 2005 campaign and it looked like Michael Schumacher would start the year perfectly with his first ‘proper’ win since 2004. However then reigning champion Fernando Alonso drove a spectacular race for Renault, with a perfect strategy call and some great dodging ability in avoiding Schumacher’s teammate of Felipe Massa spinning right in front of, saw him hold off the seven time World Champion’s Ferrari to win the race.
1. 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix - Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Never in doubt for the top position on this list, 2014 will always be remembered for the iconic ‘Duel in the Desert’ between then Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. The first ever Bahrain Grand Prix held under lights, this was the race that began their epic rivalry, and set the bar high for the tense in-team fighting we would see between them over the next three seasons. Both Rosberg and Hamilton exchanged the lead several times across the race with some epic wheel to wheel racing that many had hoped the then new hybrid turbo cars would produce. Hamilton ultimately would go on to win the race ahead of Rosberg, but it is still fondly remembered to this day as an all-time classic. It is also remembered for Pastor Maldonado sending Esteban Guitierrez halfway into space with one of his more clumsy moves in his epic crashing career.
Do you agree with this list? Which Bahrain Grand Prix is your favourite? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!