Bahrain Track Guide | Sector 2 | F1 2021
The Bahrain International Circuit is a technical circuit sculpted from the sand dunes in Sakir. Bahrain has played host to multiple spectacular duels in the past. It is typically one of the first races on the F1 calendar and provides a good mix of low and medium-speed sections with four high-speed straights. For 2022 it is set to take the place of Melbourne as the season opener as well as hosting the pre-season test. Let’s take a look at how to master this technical circuit on F1 2021.
Sector 2 is the track's longest and most technical with a variety of fast and slow corners. Most notably the tricky braking zone into Turn 10 is one that can really make or break a lap.
Approaching Turn 5, straddle the white line and aim to hug the left side as you run over the apex kerb. This will widen the entry into T6.
Stay flat until after the kerb and then dab the brakes, downshift to 5th and turn into T6. Timing the downshift with the turn-in helps to rotate the car.
Make a wide entry into T6 in 5th gear and position the car so that the right tyre sits at the base of the kerb but no higher. This is a good compromise between line and downforce as any more kerb will unsettle the car.
Pick up the throttle mid-corner and compromise your exit slightly to avoid making T7 too tight to take flat out. Shift up to 6th gear before reaching T7.
Turn 7: Apex
Enter Turn 7 from the middle of the track and similarly to the previous corner, aim to position the tyre at the base of the kerb for maximum downforce.
You should shift up to 6th gear and reach full throttle before making the apex to maintain stability.
This corner is flat out or a very slight lift depending on line and setup. It is important not to force it to go flat as it can actually be slower if you scrub wide - try out different techniques and see what works best.
Turn 7: Exit
On the exit of Turn 7, try to avoid the temptation of the exit kerb. This one is quite large and will scrub speed. It will also put you further from the left side which you need to get over to quickly before T8. Your exit will indicate if you should be lifting through Turn 7 or not.
Try to stay smooth, shift up to 7th gear and get over to the left in time for braking into T8.
Turn 8: Apex
Begin to brake for Turn 8 once you have got over to the left and passed the advertising board. Try to do most of the braking in a straight line, run slightly deep and trailbrake in for a late apex. Be aware that the braking is slightly downhill so it won't stop as quickly as expected. Also, be careful to avoid a heavy lock-up as the downforce is low.
Cut back towards the kerb for a straighter run out - early on the power. Miss the kerb to maintain traction but get close to it.
Use 2nd gear at the apex and then short-shift as you open the steering early on the way out.
Turn 8: Exit
On the way out of Turn 8 use a little bit of throttle initially to rotate the car and short-shift to 3rd gear. Try to open the steering early and get fully on the power in a relatively straight line.
Be sure to stay off the exit kerb as this will reduce the traction at the time when you need it most going up the hill.
Make your way over to the right on the way out to set up for T9.
Turn 9: Entry
Turn 9 is all about setting up for the braking into T10. Since we want to brake as late as possible, sacrificing the apex of Turn 9 is important to allow straighter, more aggressive braking.
Position the car at the far right of the track at the edge of the entry kerb and aim for a wide line, keeping away from the inside apex. Approach in 7th gear.
In the middle of Turn 9 aim to be centred on the circuit. Make a last-minute tweak of the steering to straighten the car before braking - after the white line that crosses the track. You will need to brake and turn but the less steering angle you need the harder you can brake. It is all about a careful balance between brake pressure and steering lock - This is called trailbraking.
It is super easy to lock the front left here so you might want to go a few steps rearwards on the brake bias. Downshift from 7th gear and use the rear axle to rotate the car under braking.
Hopefully, you got the car slowed down for Turn 10 by trailbraking correctly. Downshift all the way to 1st gear temporarily and then quickly back up to 3rd once you have passed the apex.
Again, it is best to slightly miss the kerb at the apex because it will stop you from putting the power down onto the long straight.
Try to take a wide line in so that you can exit much straighter and be on your way sooner. Additionally, avoid the exit kerb for traction reasons. Remember DRS.
Turn 11: Entry
Following the DRS back straight move over to the right and straddle the entry kerb to Turn 11 in 8th gear. This widens the entry and also puts both wheels on the tarmac for maximum braking grip.
Hit the brakes a little before the 50m board and trailbrake towards the apex. You can carry the speed in on a relatively tight line but avoid turning in too early as this will make you run wide on the exit.
Turn 11: Apex
At the apex of Turn 11 aim to put the tyre at the base of the kerb to avoid losing downforce and carry the speed through in 4th gear.
You want to get on the power as early as possible here but sometimes it can be tempting to do it too early, causing you to scrub out wide on the exit. A small amount of patience will pay dividends helping you to nail the exit.
The same goes for the steering, you want to open it up but don't do it too early that it causes you to run out wide on the way out.
Turn 11: Exit
When exiting Turn 11, try to avoid the temptation of using the exit kerb as this can suck you out and off track. Staying a little bit tighter can help you to get back over to the left quicker, which you need to do for T12.
Build back up to full throttle progressively but ensure you get there before moving back over to the left. Aim for the service road on the left-hand side.
Shift up through 5th and 6th gears as you head back uphill.
Turn 12 is super fast and easily flat out. The most important thing (providing you enter on the right line) is to stay off the inside kerb for downforce stability.
Avoid making any sudden inputs to the steering and use as little lock as possible. Follow the inside white line and then let the car run out freely on the exit, going fully over the exit kerb. Stay in 7th gear.