Daniel Ricciardo thinks the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) will play to the strengths of his Red Bull RB12 in round two of this year’s Formula One championship.
The Australian finished a solid fourth in Melbourne’s 2016 opener and is heading to Sakhir confident of another strong result. Ricciardo based his optimism on having scored points on his last two visits to the Middle East venue.
Despite the track featuring a very long main straight, the three-time grand prix winner was able to take his machine and underpowered Renault engine to P4 in 2014 for his first season at Red Bull. Last year saw Ricciardo receive the chequered flag in sixth as his power unit failed in a plume of smoke over the line.
“I think the track’s always been pretty fun to race on, I feel I’ve always had good results at this track, and there are good places for overtaking,” the 26-year-old said.
“The last corner flows quite well and if you can get close for DRS you can get a good run into Turn 1. If you don’t get it into Turn 1, then there’s Turn 4 or the middle sectors where it’s easy to make mistakes.
“There’s probably four places you can pass on the track which is pretty good. The track does suit us, the last couple of years we’ve had a pretty good result, so hopefully we can continue that this year as well.”
While the Bahrain Grand Prix used to take place in broad daylight, the race was first run under the floodlights in 2014 when BIC officials decided to make it a night event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sakhir’s F1 first contest. Ricciardo is happy this one-off experiment has been extended into a permanent feature.
“Since it’s been a night race it’s become a lot more exciting. The tyres last a bit longer and you can push a bit harder throughout the race so it’s been a good challenge the last few years and a place I’ve always enjoyed.”
“Night races are fun, for whatever reason it feels like you go a bit faster at night, so it’s exciting. If every race was a night race it wouldn’t have that same atmosphere so it’s cool that we have a few across the year.”