The Bahrain Grand Prix is a Formula One Championship race in Bahrain currently sponsored by Gulf Air. The race takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit. The circuit made its debut in 2004 and made history as the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East. The race usually features in the first half of the season. Mostly making an appearance as the second or third race of the season.
The 2011 Grand Prix however was canceled due to the Bahraini Protests after drivers including Mark Webber had objected to the race. In 2014, the race was held under floodlights for the first time since its inception and ever since has been held under lights. In 2014, the first corner of the track was renamed after seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in honor of his achievements in the sport.
The first race at Bahrain was held in 2004. Michael Schumacher in his dominant Ferrari would cruise to victory in the inaugural race. In 2005, Fernando Alonso would take over as the Spaniard would win the race for the next two seasons.
Felipe Massa would be the next victor on this track as he would win the next two races held in Bahrain. Jenson Button would win the race in 2009 while Fernando Alonso would be back at the top of the podium in 2010 in his first race for Ferrari.
The 2011 race would face cancellation as the Bahraini Protests gathered steam. Amidst objections from multiple drivers on the grid, the Grand Prix would be canceled for the 2011 season. The 2012 season would feature a spectacular drive through the field by Kimi Raikkonen as he challenged Sebastian Vettel for victory. Vettel would ultimately win the race with Raikkonen finished second. The 2013 season would feature an identical 1-2 from the previous year as yet again Sebastian Vettel would win the race with Kimi Raikkonen finishing second.
The 2014 season would be the first Bahrain Grand Prix to be conducted under floodlights. The race would be won by Lewis Hamilton, holding off a race-long charge from his teammate Nico Rosberg. The 2015 season would feature Lewis Hamilton winning the race yet again with Kimi Raikkonen finishing second.
The 2016 season would feature a change of guard as the eventual world champion Nico Rosberg will win the race.
The 2017 and 2018 would mark a return to the front for both Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari as the team would win the race in the next two years. 2019 and 2020 would belong to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes as the duo would pick up wins in both seasons.
The track has been popular for the overtaking opportunities it provides throughout the lap. There have been multiple races with a great wheel to wheel action throughout the race with many standout races including the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix or the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix and many more. Switching the start time and conducting the race under floodlights has further added to the spectacle.
In the 2021 season, Bahrain Grand Prix would be the first race of the season according to the official Formula One Calendar for the 2021 season.