2016 Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix preview

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Bahrain International Circuit, home of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix

Bahrain International Circuit, home of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix

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The second race of the 2016 Formula One World Championship is on this weekend.

It’s taking place in Bahrain where because of the extreme heat during the day the race actually starts at twilight and finishes under lights.

The race is held on Bahrain International Circuit, which features a 3.3-mile, Hermann Tilke-designed layout with long straights and slow corners. Because of this combination, car setup is a compromise between straight-line speed and slow-corner grip.

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Teams will be thankful that conditions this year are set to be a bit milder than usual. The peak temperature for Sunday’s race is expected to be just 78 degrees F (26 degrees C) and the skies should remain clear.

Pirelli’s three tire nominations are the medium, soft and supersofts, the same used at the previous race in Australia. As teams now have some experience with the new tire regulations, they should have more ideas as to how to get the best out of the compounds.

Mercedes AMG's Nico Rosberg quickest after practice

After today’s practice session, Mercedes AMG’s Nico Rosberg was the fastest. He was followed closely by fellow Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s [NYSE:RACE] Kimi Räikkönen. Impressively, Red Bull Racing drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were both putting down impressive times as well.

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Looking ahead to tomorrow’s qualifying session, the new format where the slowest driver is eliminated every 90 seconds will remain unchanged in Bahrain, despite almost universal panning from fans and teams. Going into the session and Sunday’s eventual race, Rosberg leads the 2016 Drivers’ Championship with 25 points. Hamilton is second with 18 and Ferrari's other driver Sebastian Vettel is third with 15. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes has 43 points versus the 15 of Ferrari and 14 of Williams.

Unfortunately for McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard will have to sit out the race as a precaution following his violent crash at the previous race in Australia. McLaren’s new reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne will fill in for him.

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