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 3 only has three corners and is extremely fast. The important takeaway in this sector is to set up the overtaking opportunity down the main straight. Additionally, it is also important not to get too greedy and run wide in the final corner.
Turn 13: Entry
As you exit T12 at high speed you should find yourself fully on the exit kerb in 7th gear. Run along this exit kerb to carry speed and turn it into the entry kerb for Turn 13.
Begin to brake whilst straddling the kerb in a straight line. Turn in just before the corner begins to curve. Trailbrake as you rotate the car towards the apex. Start to downshift once you come off the kerb for stability.
Turn 13: Apex
Make a wide late arc towards the apex to maintain downforce and give the best exit onto the straight. Kiss the apex kerb but avoid straddling it as it might reduce traction on exit.
You may want to shift into 3rd before the apex to rotate the car but use 4th whilst you run over the kerb for stability.
Transition off the brake pedal early and get on the power as you pass the apex for the best run out.
Turn 13: Exit
Ensure you make the best use of the exit kerb to carry as much speed onto the straight as possible. Do this by opening up the steering earlier.
Don't be afraid to get on the power aggressively as there is a decent amount of downforce at that speed. Make sure you hit full throttle before the exit kerb.
You should use 4th gear as you pass the apex and then shift up at the blue lights from there.
Turn 14: Entry
Approach Turn 14 by straddling the entry kerb, a very common tactic on this track in F1 2021 as you may now have realised. This will make the last corner just a little bit faster and propel you onto the straight quicker. It also means you are not fully touching the bumpy kerb with your tyres for better braking performance.
Hit the brakes firmly as you pass under the overhead gantry and continue to brake in a straight line for a while as you straddle the kerb. Make sure you shift down smoothly from 8th gear when you are on the kerb as it can make the car unstable.
Begin to turn in at the 50m board.
Turn 14: Apex
Try to get a nice wide line into the final corner(s) for the best exit and overtaking chances (especially when starting a hotlap).
Trailbrake towards a late apex, clipping the white line without riding the kerb. This is critical for rear stability. Use 3rd gear at the apex and short-shift soon after.
As you pass the apex, get on the throttle early. However, be patient to reach full throttle as you need to ensure you don't run wide too early on exit.
The final corner is really just the exit of T14. As previously mentioned, avoid running wide too early onto the exit kerb of Turn 15 as this will pull you wide (As Alex Albon found out in 2020).
Short-shift to 4th gear and try to get to full throttle as early as you can without scrubbing wide.
Run out to the later part of the exit kerb but try not to go onto the raised second tier of the kerb as this could scrub some speed off your run to the line.