Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Bahrain Outer circuit “not the most exciting” and “quite dangerous” in places – Verstappen

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen was not impressed with his first experience of Bahrain’s shorter Outer circuit today.

The 3.5 kilometre layout, the shortest F1 is racing on this year, is being used for the first time for this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix. Verstappen said the track “is not the most exciting to drive, to be honest.”

Drivers found the track very busy as 20 cars jockeyed for position on the compact layout.

“Because of the small track the radio is constantly open,” said Verstappen. “It’s like ‘be careful here, traffic there’. it’s not really what you want.”

The speed differences between drivers who are pushing to set lap times and those who have backed off between runs create further hazards in the middle sector, said Verstappen.

“Especially in the second sector, it’s quite blind a lot of the corners. It’s quite dangerous around there to slow down [when] we have to cool down the tyres to be able to do another lap.

“So, it’s not the nicest, not the easiest, but it is what it is.”

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Bahrain Outer Circuit
Bahrain’s short, 3.5-kilometre Outer Circuit
The Red Bull driver is also concerned it will be difficult to overtake on the circuit during the race.

“I tried to follow. Some slower cars, of course, are easier to pass. But when you start to follow cars, which are within three tenths of your pace, it’s again, very tricky to get by.

“So I don’t think it’s particularly great to follow.”

Verstappen finished both practice sessions in second place behind George Russell’s Mercedes. However he suspects Red Bull’s real gap to the Mercedes pair is larger than it appears because Valtteri Bottas’s fastest lap time was deleted in second practice.

“Valtteri’s lap got cancelled,” said Verstappen. “We are three-and-a-half tenths off, so it’s quite a bit. We still need to find more, especially working towards quali. And then again in the race, I think we also need to improve a bit more to be competitive.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Bahrain Outer circuit “not the most exciting” and “quite dangerous” in places – Verstappen”

  1. A decent configuration for a one-off occasion, but not for regular use, to put it simply. For sure, the GP configuration is the better one for overtaking and racing with more passing opportunities and overall a more diverse lap. I’m happy the Outer Loop got chosen for this experiment rather than, for example, the Paddock Circuit that’s on the most recent F1 games, and most definitely, the Endurance one used in 2010, which was dreadful. I hope F1 2021 would have the Outer Circuit as the alternative to the GP layout instead of Paddock.
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Bahrain_International_Circuit–Paddock_Circuit.svg

  2. we’re in for a boring race.
    overtaking when the speeddifference is 0.5s per lap is near impossible:
    – DRS has less effect due to low wing settings
    – Battery recharge is a main issue. (apparently Honda is least efficient here, hence Max is downbeat about his chances)

    Cars would settle to follow with a 4s gap to save tires. but hey, 4s x 20 cars is 80sec(!). on a 58sec (race pace) lap.
    in other words: continuous blue flags.

    Merc 1-2. maybe that Renault or McL can challenge Racing Point and RBR.

    1. 0,5 seconden on a 55 second lap is the same as a second in Spa. So the differences look smaller, but they aren’t.

      The DRS opening has a 80mm maximum gap. Irrelevant which downforce spec they run. A Monaco rear wing opens 80mm, as well as a Monza wing. So no difference there.

      1. @marcel Yes, but at places like Monza, the effect is lower because there’s less drag for DRS to reduce. Also in Mexico, but due to air density rather than rear wing configuration.

    2. @trib4udi
      I very much doubt that it will be that easy for Mercedes.
      Although their single-lap-pace looked very good yesterday, their pace on high fuel was pretty average, to say the least.
      They were struggling a lot on the Softs, comfortably slower than both RBs and also slower than Renault & RP. It looked a little better on the Hards, but still 0.3/lap slower than Verstappen on the Mediums and just matching Renault & RP (also on Mediums).

  3. When drivers and teams hate it, usually it must be good.

  4. β€œI tried to follow. Some slower cars, of course, are easier to pass. But when you start to follow cars, which are within three tenths of your pace, it’s again, very tricky to get by.”
    Isn’t this true of pretty much all the tracks on the F1 calendar?

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