What’s your favourite corner on the Bahrain Grand Prix circuit?
Lance Stroll: “The quick-fire changes of direction in Turns 5 and 6 are exciting and pretty high-speed, but the most challenging corner follows not long after in Turn 9 – it’s really easy to lock-up the front left and that can really affect your stint and race. As always, Turn 1 will be the key overtaking spot.”
What do you make of the Outer Track that we’ll race on in the second Bahrain event?
LS: “It looks like it will put on some good racing! There are certainly not many circuits with just 11 corners. The layout suggests it will be extremely tight in qualifying with some very close lap times. That’s going to potentially produce a really exciting grid that could open it up for some great racing on the Sunday. We’ll prepare as best we can for a new layout and everyone’s going to be in the same boat going into the weekend.”
Having taken time to reflect, what do you take away from the Turkish Grand Prix weekend going forwards?
LS: “Obviously, at first I was frustrated by it all because after the amazing high of taking pole position, we led more laps than anyone else in the race only to not make the podium. Now that we’ve understood why the tyres didn’t perform as expected, I can take the positives from it all. The first stint – building a lead – showed what is possible and it’s all useful experience for the next time we’re fighting up near the front of the field.”
What do you make of the Bahrain Outer Circuit?
Sergio Perez: “Obviously, we’ve yet to really see it in action, so it’s a big unknown – even with all the pre-event preparation. It certainly looks very exciting and I think it will put on an entertaining race. I think traffic could be an issue in qualifying and the race, so that could be a big factor on the Saturday.”
You have great memories of Bahrain, having taken a podium there in 2014. What do you remember about those times?
SP: “It was a very special moment in my career and it’s incredible to think it happened in only my third race with the team. It’s amazing to think that we’ve scored five more podiums together since that day. It’s always a great feeling to revisit the circuit and remember 2014.”
You come to Bahrain off the back of a second place in Turkey – do you feel the momentum is with the team once more?
SP: “Yeah, there is definitely a great atmosphere in the team right now. I also want to fight for P4 in the Drivers’ Championship and we managed to take that position after a great result in Turkey. That gives me confidence going into Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. We want to be fighting for podiums and the chance to sign off this era on a real high for the team and myself.”
After recently experiencing returning and new races, the Bahrain Grand Prix circuit is a return to relative normality. While the 2020 cars should be quicker than 2019, the teams have plenty of relevant data to inform the weekend before they hit the track.
The Bahrain Grand Prix circuit is in a coastal location meaning wind direction can have a large impact across a lap – monitoring these conditions will be an important factor in the weekend.
Overall temperatures are expected to be cooler than when the race is traditionally held in April, so early sessions could play down the impact of changing conditions.
Bahrain places an emphasis on braking stability and traction on exit, with the circuit largely made up of lower-speed corners – Turns 5-6 and Turn 12 notwithstanding – and the average grip-limited speed is on the lower side of the 2020 calendar.