F1 2020: Bahrain Grand Prix Track Guide – My team, time trial, career

The racing is always close a the Sakhir International Circuit. Here’s how to get the edge in the desert.

by Jacob Hancox
f1 2020 bahrain track guide

The Sakhir International Circuit is one of my favourite tracks in F1. The racing there is always top class with multiple spots at which cars can pass each other, and it’s good fun to drive as well.

If you’ve always found that you struggle a little here, then this is the guide for you.

Turns 1 – 3

The first braking zone of the lap in Bahrain is also the hardest. To get it right, brake just before the 100m board on the left. Be extra careful not to lock the fronts here.

F1 2020 Bahrain turns 1 and 2 Y
ACTION ZONE: Turn 1 is the biggest overtaking spot on the track

You will want to get as close to the kerb on the inside as you can without touching it as running over it will cost you time.

At the apex you should reach a minimum speed of about 48mph in 2nd gear. Make sure that your steering full lock so that you can straighten up the car more quickly on the exit.

As you exit turn 1, build up your throttle application to about 70%. You should maintain this level of throttle throughout turn 2, any more and you’ll find the car very difficult to handle.

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For turn 2, it’s important to take the right amount of kerb on the inside. If you take too little, you’ll heavily compromise your exit onto the next straight. If you take too much, your car will spin like a top.

Aim to have about 75% of your car cutting the corner at the apex. As soon as you are clear of this inside kerb and your car is stable, floor the throttle. You can lean on the exit kerbs through turn 3 as long as you have already maxed out your throttle before reaching them.

Turn 4

After the short dash up the hill you’ll find yourself at turn 4. Once again, brake just before the 100m board.

F1 2020 Bahrain turn 4 Y
SECOND CHANCE: The wide track at turn 4 makes mistakes less punishing

There are a variety of lines you can viably take through here, but it’s generally fastest to take as tight a line as you can. Therefore, aim to clip the inside kerb at the point where it sticks out into the track the most.

Your minimum speed here is 68mph in 3rd gear. As soon as you’ve gone past the apex, start gently winding on the power while also steadily reducing your steering lock. Letting the car drift wide on te exit of this corner is beneficial, as the track widens on exit.

Be careful, as the track can be quite slippery on the exit here.

Turns 5 – 7

Turn 5 isn’t much of a corner, as its really just the entry to turn 6. Here, make sure that your car is well over to the right-hand side of the track before turning in to 6. Your left front tyre should be all the way over the other side of the kerbing on the left of the track before turn 6.

F1 2020 bahrain turns 6 and 7 Y
TWISTS AND TURNS: Turns 5 – 7 make up Bahrain’s “S-section”

The braking zone for six is small, and it can be hard to spot the exact point at which to brake. If you start to brake at the point where the kerb on the left of the entry to 6 meets the white line that defines the track, you should have success here.

When turning in for 6, try to ride the inside kerb just a little bit, as this will help you to rotate around the corner without unsettling the car too much.

At the apex of 6, you should find yourself in 5th gear at 130mph. Don’t run wide on the exit, as this will compromise your line for turn 7.

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You won’t need to brake for 7, but you will need to lift off of the throttle to ensure that you’re taking the corner at around 149mph.

Aim to kiss the inside kerb and no more before running slightly onto the exit kerb on the right as you leave turn 7.

Turn 8

As soon as you’re out of turn 7, move the car over to the left of the track for turn 8. You won’t be able to get your car all the way to the left before having to brake, so make sure you’re braking in a diagonal line towards the edge of the track.

F1 2020 Bahrain turn 8 Y
SLOW AND STEADY: It’s important not to take too much speed into turn 8

This is probably the hardest to spot braking point on the whole circuit. The ideal place to brake is at the point at which you have passed about half of the mid-blue triangle on the run-off to your left.

If this is too difficult to spot, braking just after the kerbing on the left of the track begins should set you on the right path.

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Try to get to the apex of the corner without riding the kerb, but if you miss the apex here it’s not the end of the world. You should find yourself down at 50mph in 2nd gear here.

Don’t be too greedy on the throttle on the exit as the track tightens somewhat.

Turns 9 & 10

Now for the most difficult part of the whole track, the notorious turn 10. You should brake a little after the white line which runs across the width of the circuit at the start of turn 9.

F1 2020 Bahrain turn 10 Y
ON THE EDGE: Turn 10 is one of the hardest corners in the whole F1 calendar

It is very easy to lock up here, so you will need to be very precise with your braking. Let the car drift to the outside edge of the track through 9 before turning in to 10 itself.

Like with turn 8, you want to get as close to the inside kerb here without touching it. You’ll should reach speeds as low as 45mph here at the apex.

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On the exit, the most important thing is to get the car straight. The traction zone as you leave 10 is almost as difficult as the corner itself, so be careful you don’t just slam the throttle before the car is ready.

Also, avoiding the exit kerbs as much as you can is key, as they will not allow you to accelerate cleanly out of the corner.

Turn 11

After another DRS straight, you’ll reach turn 11. Here, its important that you open up the angle of the corner as much as you can.

F1 2020 Bahrain turn 11 Y
SMOOTH: Steady throttle application and gentle steering inputs are key for turn 11

To do this, you should have almost your whole car off of the road as you brake on entry to the corner. As long as you keep your front left wheel on the track, the game will not penalise you.

Brake 80m before the corner, and turn in immediately after the 50m board has passed you. Clip the inside kerb with your front left tyre, at a minimum speed of 100mph in 4th gear.

As soon as you are certain that you won’t touch the exit kerb, floor the throttle. If you do touch the exit kerb, your car may spin out, so make sure you really are certain before slamming the power.

Turns 12 & 13

Turn 12 can be taken fully flat, as long as you position the car correct. To do this, take a tight line but avoid the inside kerb at all costs as this can also spin you out in an instant.

F1 2020 Bahrain turn 12 Y
DANGER: This kerb will spin you out if you so much as look at it funny

Run over the exit kerbs of 12 to open up the line for 13. You’ll want to brake a little before the orange barrier on the far right of the screen disappears.

As you brake, go down to 4th gear and 90mph. You should turn in just after the final Rolex board on the right of the track disappears off screen. Aim to run over the apex of the corner with the right-hand side of your car.

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Again, you will want to use the exit kerb of 13, with it running directly beneath the middle of the car so that none of your tyres are touching it.

Turns 14 & 15

Though it’s called 14 and 15, this is simply the final corner of the track. You should brake for this one just after the 100m board, with your left tyres on the entry kerb on the left.

F1 2020 Bahrain Turn 14 Y
END OF THE LINE: The final corner in Bahrain brings the lap to a satisfying conclusion

Aim to take a small amount of the inside kerb with your right front wheel. Your minimum speed here is about 82 mph in 4th gear.

The track widens on the exit, so try to keep the trajectory of the car in line with the curvature of the outside of the track as you put the power down.

This is another traction zone which can be slippery, particularly if you’re towards the right of the track, so take care!

Setup

To be able to get the perfect lap in Sakhir, you’ll need the right setup to go along with this guide. Take a look at our Bahrain Grand Prix setup guide!

Jacob Hancox

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