Key Strategic Moment
The Key Strategic Moment of the 2015 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX was the decision by Scuderia Ferrari to put Kimi Räikkönen on the medium compound tyre for the middle stint of the race. This meant he was on a different plan from the cars ahead of him and set him up for a brilliant second place finish; his first podium since 2013.
Räikkönen was fourth in the opening stint, but stayed out longer than Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel before the first stop and then, as they worked on managing their faster soft tyres through the second stint, he not only matched their pace but at times was faster.
This meant he was on the soft tyre for the final stint when the car was lightest; he had tremendous pace and was well positioned due to this strategy to come through to pass Rosberg on the penultimate lap and claim a memorable result.
Race Strategy Briefing
Bahrain could be a similar kind of race to China - the Pirelli tyre choices are the same (soft and medium) and although Bahrain is more abrasive, the temperatures will be slightly cooler, as the race will be held at night. Therefore, we are likely to see a similar pattern of two stops with soft/soft/ medium as the default strategy. This season MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS is less able to take risks with strategy due to Scuderia Ferrari being closer behind them. In Bahrain last year Mercedes was able to give the second placed car a chance of winning the race with an alternative strategy, which made for a brilliant race. This won’t be possible this year and so qualifying and the start of the race will be critical.
In collaboration with James Allen
F1’s first step into the Middle East region came in 2004 when Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit was added to the calendar. Set in the desert, the first day of practice is spent sweeping off the layers of dust and developing a racing line on the Hermann Tilke designed track. The track features a good deal of undulation as well as Tilke’s characteristic long straights in to tight corners which produce some overtaking. High temperatures can contribute to increased tyre degradation. Ferrari have won four out of the nine races at this track including a memorable 1-2 headed by Fernando Alonso in 2010, his first win for Ferrari.
Circuit length 5.412 km
Race distance 308.238 km
2014 race winner Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)