Round two of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship is the Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
Located in the middle of a desert, the 3.36-mile Bahrain International Circuit presents several challenges, from the heat to the blowing sand and an offset schedule. Here, the race schedule starts at twilight and finishes under lights, in order to avoid the extreme heat of the day.
Weather conditions this year look to be mild, though, with the peak temperature during both Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race forecast to hover around 77 degrees F.
The circuit's layout consists of a mix of high-speed straights and hairpins with heavy braking. Engine performance, traction out of the corners, and stability under braking make up the technical challenge here. And the surface is very abrasive, having originally been built using granite. As such, Pirelli has nominated its hardest compounds for the race: C1, C2 and C3.
The on-track battles are usually spectacular. There’s a lot of run-off, which encourages drivers to be aggressive with their lines and their passing maneuvers. Hopefully that's going to be the case this year.
Going into the weekend, Mercedes-AMG's Valtteri Bottas leads the 2019 Drivers' Championship with 26 points. His teammate Lewis Hamilton is second with 18 points and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen is third with 15 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes leads with 44 points versus the 22 of Ferrari and 15 of Red Bull. Last year's winner in Bahrain was Sebastian Vettel driving for Ferrari.