The 2020 Formula One World Championship has already been decided, with Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton taking the drivers' title at the previous round in Turkey, and his team taking the constructors' title the round prior to that.
Nevertheless, there are four more rounds left in 2020, with the Bahrain Grand Prix up next. The race in the desert is on this weekend and takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit, located in an area known as Sakhir. The location is actually a former camel farm, and due to the intense heat of the day the race schedule starts at twilight and finishes under lights, when things are cooler.
The Bahrain International Circuit's 3.36-mile track always presents an interesting challenge, due to the changing temperature but also the blowing sand which can affect the surface conditions. The track has an abrasive surface and 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.
Bahrain International Circuit, home of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix
Turn 10 is one of the trickiest corners because it has a long, combined corner entry that gets tighter toward the apex, in this case a blind over a crest. Drivers begin to apply the brakes while also negotiating the wide corner arc of Turn 9 and the track drops away at the apex. All of these factors cause the front-left tire to go light and increase the risk of a lock-up.
Weather conditions this year look to be mild, with the peak temperature during both Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race forecast to hover around 80 degrees F. As for the tires, Pirelli has nominated its C2, C3 and C4 compounds, which is a softer combination than last year. Teams didn't use the harder C1 compound last year, so Pirelli has nominated softer compounds this year in attempt to have all of them in play.
Going into the weekend, Hamilton leads the 2020 Drivers' Championship with 307 points. Fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas is second with 197 points and Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen is third with 170 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes sits on 504 points, versus the 240 of Red Bull and 154 of Racing Point. Last year's winner in Bahrain was Hamilton driving for Mercedes.