F1 2013 circuit guide: Bahrain Grand Prix

Set in the middle of the desert, the Bahrain International Circuit is not ideal for spectators and the conditions make for an unpredictable drive.

Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit

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21 April 2013, 1pm GMT

Live on Sky Sports F1, highlights on BBC

First Grand Prix: 2004

Track length: 5.412 km

Number of laps: 57

Lap record: 1:30.252, Michael Schumacher, 2004

This race was plagued by controversy last season, when the whole sport was caught up in a will-they-won’t-they saga concerning whether or not the race should go ahead in light of government crackdowns on civilian protestors.

The F1 circus did roll into town in the end, and Sebastian Vettel held on for his first win of a championship-winning season. But the whole episode left a nasty taste in the mouth and the authorities will be hoping for less off-track drama this time around.

The venue itself is a spectator’s nightmare. It’s located in the middle of the desert which means, naturally, an abundance of sand – so much that officials have to be on hand to sweep it off the track all weekend long – and some sizzlingly hot temperatures.

The scorching sun means the only safe place to watch is from one of the air-conditioned grandstands leaving the atmosphere, unlike the weather, a little tepid.

Down at a track level is a course with 20 corners and straights of varying widths. This makes for an unpredictable and exciting spectacle and fans and F1 bosses alike will be hoping that’s where all the attention is directed this year.

2012 memory: Kim Raikkonen’s rampage of overtaking, which took him from 11th to second before he picked the wrong side to attack Sebastian Vettel and just missed out on the pass.

Previous winners

2012: Sebastian Vettel

2011: Cancelled

2010: Fernando Alonso

2009: Jenson Button

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2008: Felipe Massa