The Bahrain Grand Prix has played more than just a vital role in inspiring me to create F1ntastic. The Bahrain Grand Prix, better known as the Bahrain GP, is a Formula 1 race. It is the Formula 1 race in Bahrain, and it takes place every year. F1 first came to Bahrain in 2004, but I got properly introduced to the sport in 2013. That’s when I watched the Bahrain Grand Prix from the Paddock Club. I remember clutching tightly to my ears as the 2013 V8 F1 engines roared in anger. That was my first memory of Formula 1 in the Bahrain Grand Prix, the first of many.
This post has a few Bahrain Grand Prix moments that brought me that passion for Formula 1. These are the moments that inspired me to share my opinions and my passion for the sport through F1ntastic. Since I founded F1ntastic on the 25th of May 2020, all of these Bahrain GP moments are before the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. So don’t be surprised not to see Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash on this list! Let’s get into it!
2014 Bahrain GP – Gutierrez’s Barrel Roll At Turn 1
You don’t see a car doing a barrel roll and going upside down at every F1 race. Yet at the 2014 Bahrain GP, that’s exactly what we saw. The 2014 Bahrain GP was a great race, with many crucial battles, including the Duel in the Desert. But this crash was quite scary and quite unexpected. And even though the crash was a slow-speed crash, the car that flipped ended up flipping in quite a sudden and quick fashion.
The crash happened between Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez, with the latter driver driving the car that is upside down in the image above. Maldonado was coming out of the pits and was in a battle with Gutierrez for P13. Maldonado was pushing hard as he came out of the pits and came down into Turn 1.
But Gutierrez turned in too much, leaving Maldonado no space, resulting in Maldonado’s front wing clipping the rear-right tire of Gutierrez’s car. Since Gutierrez was turning into Turn 1, he was sent into a short and sudden barrel roll. It was a surprising and crazy moment, and somewhat iconic, and it’s one of the reasons I like F1; it’s so unpredictable and exciting, it gets your adrenaline pumping. Watch the video of the crash here; the link leads to a YouTube video published by the official Formula 1 channel.
2017 Bahrain GP – Stroll And Sainz Crash At Pit Exit
Another pit exit crash has made this list, with this incident happening in 2017. On Lap 11 of the 2017 Bahrain GP, Carlos Sainz came into the pits for a fresh set of supersoft tires. When he was exiting the pitlane, his race engineer told him over the radio to stay within the white line of the pit exit, and that Sainz will be racing Stroll into Turn 1. When Sainz came hurtling into Turn 1, Stroll was turning into Turn 1. Sainz had no space and went straight into the side of Stroll’s car.
Sainz was already turning into Turn 1 when his Toro Rosso’s front-left tire went straight into the right sidepod of Lance Stroll’s car. Stroll was already out of the race, while Sainz continued racing for another 2 corners before pulling over to the side and retiring from the race. I remember this moment in the 2017 Bahrain GP; it was a quite unexpected crash that brought out the Safety Car. The large amount of debris and the stopped cars brought out the Safety Car, along with some spilt oil, which could be a reason that Sainz had to retire the car.
One of the greatest things about this crash is how both of the drivers blamed each other for it. They were right in the sense that both drivers were at fault. Sainz was at fault for trying to go too fast through Turn 1. He should’ve braked earlier in anticipation of Stroll coming into Turn 1. At the same time, Stroll had to leave more space because there was a car coming out of the pitlane. Sainz had no space at all coming through Turn 1, which made the collision inevitable.
2018 – Hamilton’s Stunning Triple-Overtake Into Turn 1
This is the first of two major parts of the 2018 Bahrain GP that made this list. I don’t think that I’ve seen an incredible overtake like this again in F1, and the best thing about this overtake was the fact that I saw it happen right in front of me when I was sitting in the grandstands. So to give you guys some context, Lewis Hamilton started the 2018 Bahrain GP in P9. After a hydraulics leak at the 2018 Australian GP, Mercedes had to replace Hamilton’s gearbox ahead of the Bahrain GP. Because of this, Hamilton received a 5-place grid penalty for the Bahrain GP.
Hamilton didn’t get the greatest start of the race. He went down to P10 but got back up into P9 after Ricciardo retired from the race. But then Hamilton began a charge. This triple-overtake saw him begin the charge and overtake 3 cars at the same time into Turn 1. INCREDIBLE. He just had so much more speed and crucially so much more confidence than the midfield drivers. He hit the brakes as late as possible and made a fantastic move work.
2014 Bahrain GP – The Mercedes Drivers’ Duel In The Desert
This battle is a battle that will remain in F1 history as one of the greatest. This duel was so heated, so close, and it was just the beginning of a massive rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Nicknames The Duel In The Desert, this was a race-long battle between the 2 Mercedes drivers. These were the Mercedes drivers in 2014. Currently, Lewis Hamilton is still at Mercedes, but his teammate is no longer Nico Rosberg since Rosberg retired from F1 at the end of the 2016 F1 season.
Rosberg and Hamilton were rivals and great friends when they were karting and trying to make it to Formula 1. Rosberg made his F1 debut in 2006, while Hamilton made his debut in 2007, which is when these 2 friends became competitors again. But they never really became true competitors again until 2014. They became teammates at Mercedes in 2013, but things changed in 2014. In 2014, Mercedes were so dominant that their drivers ended up fighting each other instead of fighting drivers from other teams.
This continued for 3 years, but it really began at the 2014 Bahrain GP. At the start of the race, Rosberg was on pole position, but Hamilton got the better start and got the lead of the race into Turn 1. Later in the race, Rosberg told Mercedes over the radio that he was clearly faster and wanted Lewis to let him past. And on Lap 18, Rosberg launched his first challenge into Turn 1 to get past Hamilton.
But Rosberg and Hamilton both locked up into Turn 1, with Rosberg’s lock-up being more costly. But still, Rosberg took the lead of the race. However, Hamilton got back past Rosberg while going through Turn 6. On top of that, he squeezed Rosberg to the edge of the track to make sure Rosberg didn’t fight back. GAME. ON. Rosberg’s strategy meant he was on the faster tires at the end of the race. And the aforementioned crash between Gutierrez and Maldonado brought out the Safety Car towards the end of the race.
The Safety Car brought Rosberg really close behind Hamilton. That’s why Rosberg ended up with a huge chance to win the race when the Safety Car came back into the pitlane. But when Rosberg launched attack after attack, Hamilton fought as hard as he could and held Rosberg off to win the 2014 Bahrain GP. This battle was legendary, and will likely be talked about for DECADES to come.
2018 – Vettel Holds Off Bottas To Take Brilliant Bahrain Win
The 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix is BY FAR my most favourite Bahrain GP of all time. Since I was a HUGE Ferrari fan at that time, and I was especially a fan of Sebastian Vettel, the moment the Ferrari crossed the finish line to win the race was just so special and so memorable. It was even better because most people thought that Bottas would easily win the race.
So what happened was, on Lap 18, Sebastian Vettel pitted from the lead of the race. He pitted from the supersoft tires to the soft tires, thinking that he was going to make another pitstop onto a 3rd set of tires to reach the end of the race. Both Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel were aware of this strategy and planning to do this strategy. However, on Lap 19, Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen pitted, and a major pitstop disaster happened.
There was an issue with one of the tires in the pitstop, but Ferrari gave Raikkonen the green light to leave the pit box. However, one of the mechanics had his leg on the side of the tire, since he was trying to fix the issue with the wheel gun. But when Raikkonen left the pit box, he ran over that mechanic’s leg. That was one of the most painful moments in F1 for everyone, and it was shocking. It was one of the scariest things I have ever seen since I started watching F1.
Because of this disaster, Vettel had to stay out of the pits, and he could not go onto that 3rd set of tires. This means that he had to stay on the same set of tires for nearly 40 laps, which made him really slow once his tires started to wear out. That’s why Bottas could catch up to Vettel near the end of the race. But in Formula 1, catching up to a driver and overtaking a driver are two different stories. And the experience and pure pace that Vettel had really showed that day. he was and always will be, after all, 4-time world champion.