Toto Wolff, Mercedes boss

“Bahrain is a track that should suit Ferrari, so we expect even smaller gaps and a very close match this weekend. After a successful debut for the new tyre regulations last time out, we can also expect an interesting strategy battle during the race – so there is plenty to look forward to.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India

“Next up is Bahrain, which is a special place. As a circuit, it’s very different to Melbourne: it’s not bumpy at all; it’s very smooth and it’s full of slow corners. There are a several overtaking spots and the whole track, with long straights and big braking zones, makes for some great wheel-to-wheel racing. It’s a track that rewards attacking, so hopefully we will see lots of action in the race. And of course, it’s a night race so the atmosphere of the whole event is very different! One of my favourite things about Bahrain is the paddock. It looks like it’s straight out of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, with the lights and buildings all adding to the atmosphere. It’s one of my favourite events of the season. We will arrive there in a good place and we have the potential to get another strong result.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes Technical chief

“Bahrain is quite a different track to Melbourne, so it will be interesting to see how we fare. One thing you can normally guarantee is that it will be dry. Unlike the rain-hit Melbourne weekend, this will provide plenty of opportunity for track time. Thanks to their evening timings, qualifying and the race in Bahrain see much cooler track temperatures than the mid-afternoon FP1 / FP3 sessions — making the latter somewhat unrepresentative. This potentially makes tyre selection even more of a factor.

“We’ve seen close battles throughout the field in both years of twilight racing in Bahrain, so we look forward to hopefully providing another spectacular evening for the fans.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren Honda

“Firstly, I’m very pleased to be heading to Bahrain after the crash in Australia. I’ve spent some time resting and I can’t wait to get back in the car… I really enjoy racing in Bahrain. It’s been a good circuit for me in the past – I’ve had three victories there – and there are quite a few good opportunities to overtake. There are lots of variables to think about and it’s one of the longest races, which usually produces some kind of drama. Hopefully we can enjoy some close racing and keep ourselves out of trouble.”

Sergio Perez, Force India

“The racing is never boring in Bahrain so fans should enjoy some good entertainment. There are long straights and sharp braking zones so it’s great for overtaking, but the big tractions zones make this a tough track for the rear tyres. I think tyre degradation will be a key factor in the outcome of this race. The track evolves a lot as the race goes on, as the cars sweep away all the sand and dust that the wind has blown onto the track. I have some very good memories from Bahrain – the race in 2014 was just fantastic when I celebrated my first podium with the team. I am confident we can be strong again this year and get back all the points I missed in Australia.”

Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso

“…I remember Turn 12 being a challenge because it’s always on the limit – you can go flat there one lap if the wind is okay, but then you try to do the same the following lap and it’s impossible because of the wind… It’s tricky, but it gives the driver a lot of pleasure when you manage to do it well! Finally, at the last corner you have to make sure you get a good exit. Last year we struggled a bit with top speed, so it was all about getting a lot of traction out of there – I remember this straight being a bit too long for us… Maybe no longer that much this year!”

Jenson Button, McLaren Honda

“Bahrain is a fun track to drive on and very different from Albert Park in its configuration. It’s tough on brakes and fuel, and good balance is key to putting together a lap, as you need downforce on the long, fast straights and then stability and traction through the lower-speed corners. It’s a more extreme version of Australia in many ways, with the track starting off very dirty and rubbering in over the weekend. While that makes the track faster, we also have to juggle the rapidly cooling temperatures on race day after the sun sets… Bahrain is definitely a tricky track for us as it’s high-speed, but we have a solid platform and improved deployment, so there are some positives to look forward to.”

Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso

“The Bahrain circuit has a very long straight – too long last year! – and they overtook me quite a few times there in 2015… It’s not a nice feeling and inside your head you’re talking to yourself and saying “c’mon, c’mon!”; it’s frustrating, but there’s not much more you can do when another car is quicker than you. I also remember a lot of national flags on the left after the first three turns… In general, it’s special to race in the evening, while it’s getting dark. Hopefully this year we will score some points there, because Toro Rosso has never scored any in Bahrain! So this is definitely a good target that I will be looking to achieve.”

Felipe Nasr, Sauber

“The Bahrain Grand Prix is a special race weekend for me. Having Lebanese roots from my grandfather, I have always liked being in the Middle East. For me as a driver it is nice to not only get huge support from Brazil, but also from where we are. The track itself is great fun to drive and to race at night makes the event even morespecial.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

“I have a good feeling about my pace. I was ahead all weekend until the race start last time out, so I’m confident heading to Bahrain. It’s been entertaining on track for the past two seasons there, so more of the same would be great.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren Honda

“Firstly, I’m very pleased to be heading to Bahrain after the crash in Australia. I’ve spent some time resting and I can’t wait to get back in the car… I really enjoy racing in Bahrain. It’s been a good circuit for me in the past – I’ve had three victories there – and there are quite a few good opportunities to overtake. There are lots of variables to think about and it’s one of the longest races, which usually produces some kind of drama. Hopefully we can enjoy some close racing and keep ourselves out of trouble.”

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber

“The Bahrain Grand Prix is the first night race of the season. I especially enjoy the surroundings under the floodlights, which looks pretty nice on TV. I know the track well from my previous two seasons in Formula 1, but also from GP2, as I have been there many times. Last year I put in a good performance as well as having a strong race. I was going for points, which did not work out in the end due to other circumstances. However, I will take that positive feeling from last year’s race weekend with me.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes boss

“Bahrain is a track that should suit Ferrari, so we expect even smaller gaps and a very close match this weekend. After a successful debut for the new tyre regulations last time out, we can also expect an interesting strategy battle during the race – so there is plenty to look forward to.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India

“Next up is Bahrain, which is a special place. As a circuit, it’s very different to Melbourne: it’s not bumpy at all; it’s very smooth and it’s full of slow corners. There are a several overtaking spots and the whole track, with long straights and big braking zones, makes for some great wheel-to-wheel racing. It’s a track that rewards attacking, so hopefully we will see lots of action in the race. And of course, it’s a night race so the atmosphere of the whole event is very different! One of my favourite things about Bahrain is the paddock. It looks like it’s straight out of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, with the lights and buildings all adding to the atmosphere. It’s one of my favourite events of the season. We will arrive there in a good place and we have the potential to get another strong result.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes Technical chief

“Bahrain is quite a different track to Melbourne, so it will be interesting to see how we fare. One thing you can normally guarantee is that it will be dry. Unlike the rain-hit Melbourne weekend, this will provide plenty of opportunity for track time. Thanks to their evening timings, qualifying and the race in Bahrain see much cooler track temperatures than the mid-afternoon FP1 / FP3 sessions — making the latter somewhat unrepresentative. This potentially makes tyre selection even more of a factor.

“We’ve seen close battles throughout the field in both years of twilight racing in Bahrain, so we look forward to hopefully providing another spectacular evening for the fans.”

Sergio Perez, Force India

“The racing is never boring in Bahrain so fans should enjoy some good entertainment. There are long straights and sharp braking zones so it’s great for overtaking, but the big tractions zones make this a tough track for the rear tyres. I think tyre degradation will be a key factor in the outcome of this race. The track evolves a lot as the race goes on, as the cars sweep away all the sand and dust that the wind has blown onto the track. I have some very good memories from Bahrain – the race in 2014 was just fantastic when I celebrated my first podium with the team. I am confident we can be strong again this year and get back all the points I missed in Australia.”

Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso

“…I remember Turn 12 being a challenge because it’s always on the limit – you can go flat there one lap if the wind is okay, but then you try to do the same the following lap and it’s impossible because of the wind… It’s tricky, but it gives the driver a lot of pleasure when you manage to do it well! Finally, at the last corner you have to make sure you get a good exit. Last year we struggled a bit with top speed, so it was all about getting a lot of traction out of there – I remember this straight being a bit too long for us… Maybe no longer that much this year!”

Jenson Button, McLaren Honda

“Bahrain is a fun track to drive on and very different from Albert Park in its configuration. It’s tough on brakes and fuel, and good balance is key to putting together a lap, as you need downforce on the long, fast straights and then stability and traction through the lower-speed corners. It’s a more extreme version of Australia in many ways, with the track starting off very dirty and rubbering in over the weekend. While that makes the track faster, we also have to juggle the rapidly cooling temperatures on race day after the sun sets… Bahrain is definitely a tricky track for us as it’s high-speed, but we have a solid platform and improved deployment, so there are some positives to look forward to.”

Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso

“The Bahrain circuit has a very long straight – too long last year! – and they overtook me quite a few times there in 2015… It’s not a nice feeling and inside your head you’re talking to yourself and saying “c’mon, c’mon!”; it’s frustrating, but there’s not much more you can do when another car is quicker than you. I also remember a lot of national flags on the left after the first three turns… In general, it’s special to race in the evening, while it’s getting dark. Hopefully this year we will score some points there, because Toro Rosso has never scored any in Bahrain! So this is definitely a good target that I will be looking to achieve.”

Kevin Magnussen, Renault

”The heat is a major challenge and it is tough on the rear tyres, so having a car that looks after them will be an advantage. There are also four long straights so it is a power orientated track. I will enjoy getting out there and if you ask me if the race could be tomorrow I’d be there, no questions asked!”

Guenther Steiner – Haas, Team Principal

“Bahrain is not a circuit that looks very technical from a paper point of view, but I love driving it every year.”

“We got away with not doing pit stops in Australia, but we won’t be able to in Bahrain. The focus will be on completing pit stops this weekend so the team goes into the race confident that they have trained properly.”

Jolyon Palmer, Renault

“I raced [in Bahrain] in GP2 and it’s a track I have been successful on in the past. I won the last race I did there, then I also had a podium… There are a lot of straights so plenty of overtaking opportunities, so we will find out more about the car in this trim. There is a lot of track evolution as it is very sandy at the start of weekend, and then the track gets more and more rubber down, so conditions change a lot. The weather is almost always sunny, but it can be quite windy, which can blow sand onto the track. The fact it’s a night race is pretty interesting as it’s still very dry.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Team Principal

“The track is good – it might look like a simple, modern track but, actually, it’s very challenging to put a strong lap together. The races in Bahrain are good too. There is a long main straight and good overtaking opportunity after turn one, then there is the tow again to turn four, so there are good opportunities to race.”

“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. 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.”

Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso

“[Melbourne] was a chaotic race, it was not simple to get it right. And we didn’t get it right. This is why we are now in this position but I’m convinced that it’s a one-off and that we can perform better in Bahrain, even though it’s not such a good track for us.”

Esteban Gutiárrez, Haas

“There is a very big braking into turn one, which I enjoy a lot after a very long straight. Then it’s a very tricky exit out of turn one into turn two with a lot of lateral load, trying to get on power having come from a very slow speed corner. Picking up the throttle, it’s pretty tricky. Then you go into turn four and there is a lot of change on the surface of the track. The angle is going off to the exit, so you really need to prepare a lot in order to have a comfortable exit and good balance in the car. Then you come into turns five, six and seven –the fast corners.

“Then you arrive at the hairpin. Down into turn eight, it is very tricky because here the wind conditions are affecting the car a lot and sometimes you have a headwind and it makes it very easy to make that corner. But when you have the wind coming from the back, it makes it very tricky to brake downhill and then come around the hairpin and get a good exit. Turns nine and 10 are some of the trickiest and technical corners of the season. You brake with a lot of lateral load, so here the brake balance settings are very particular to any corner in any track on the calendar. Then you come down into the back straight, you have a medium, high-speed corner which I enjoy a lot – it’s turn 11.

“You go up and you have a fast corner to the right which should be turn 12, then you arrive into turn 13, right hand corner, coming from very high-speed corner. It’s very important to find a straight line in braking and then go and throw the speed in because it’s quite high speed. I’d say it’s a medium- to high-speed corner where you can gain a lot of advantage with a good apex speed. Then you come down to the last corner, which is the preparation of the long straight straight. It’s a bit tricky because you have a nice angle on the exit, pretty different. When you come into the curb you have a small change of the track angle, which makes it very, very nice. Now, I’m looking forward to getting there and driving.”

Christian Horner, Red Bull

“In Bahrain there is slightly more emphasis on power than there is [in Melbourne]. That is not going to pay to our advantage, but we have always run competitively in Bahrain on other areas of the circuit. So I hope we can just take this momentum into that event.”

Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso

“I think it’s Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, and then us. “The Williams and the Force India, they were both not so strong in the [Melbourne] race – but for sure they will become better, especially in Bahrain with the long straights… I think Bahrain will be a bit more difficult than Australia. But we will try to do our best and hopefully our car will work there again. “

Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull

“To me, this track has been okay. Last year, there were a few issues but, in the race, it was fine, [and] I had an okay race there when I was at STR as well.  There is a long straight which was our weakness last year but, this year, we are looking to find some improvements so it could turn out to be quite a competitive track for us. If we can grab a few good points for both cars, that would be great.” 

2015 quotes from the Formula One teams about Bahrain

Felipe Massa, Pirelli

“Bahrain is the first night race of the season and is a spectacular place to watch a race. I always have fond memories of tracks where I have won before and I have managed to step onto the top step of the podium twice in Bahrain. I hope our car can show its true pace and utilize its straight line speed on the long straights. The track and facilities are always excellent in Bahrain, which is an added bonus when going to any race.”

Jenson Button, McLaren

“Bahrain is always a really great event for the fans and it’s a fun track to race on – I won there in 2009 and I enjoy driving there. Although our car isn’t suited so well to this track layout, we’ll still be pushing to continue our development as we look forward to the start of the European season and hopefully more gains in performance.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Williams vehicle performance

“The fans come from all over the Middle East and really enjoy their motorsport, so we are looking forward to this years’ Bahrain Grand Prix.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“A defining characteristic of Bahrain now is that tyre performance changes over the course of the weekend as we slowly edge towards afternoon sessions. Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix had a thrilling finish because of the safety car with 10 laps to go, leading to a great battle between the two Mercedes team mates. It’s harder to know what to expect this year – apart from the fact that it’s very unlikely to rain!”

Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull

“The lighting is very good, there’s no real issue with driving under lights. The track itself is what I would call a kind of ‘classic’ configuration. It’s got some flowing sections, some interesting corners. I enjoy it. It’s a good racing track. The facilities are great and it’s a good paddock.”

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber

“Bahrain is a track I know very well from previous racing series, and I have been there quite often. The track has some long straights, slow-speed corners with hard braking zones, as well as high-speed corners with fast changes of direction. Overall the circuit is technical and driving-wise not an easy one. Another aspect which comes into play is the sand blowing onto the track. We need to keep an eye on that, as the circuit is usually quite dusty for the first sessions and then picks up more grip during the weekend… I am looking forward to another good race weekend.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull

“It was the location of possibly my best qualifying lap ever, so I’ve got a few nice memories of Sakhir… Last year the race was one of the best. You can pass, and moving to an evening race spices things up a little. It kept you guessing with the tyres. Yeah, it’s a good track to race on. There’s some tricky corners.”

Felipe Nasr, Sauber

“For the Bahrain Grand Prix we expect much warmer weather conditions than in China. It is a track which I am familiar with, as I have raced there often. It can be positive for us that the circuit has a few straights due to our high top speed. In Bahrain there are three facts which are important for a good lap time: Braking stability, traction, as well as a good balance for the car in the high-speed corners in sector two.”

Valtteri Bottas, Williams

“Last year was a good race in Bahrain. The circuit offers the opportunity to overtake but it doesn’t make it easy so the drivers fight for every position. The track surface is quite rough which has a huge effect on the tyres, so looking after them becomes a priority. This can lead to quicker cars being bunched up and we have to take every chance that is on offer to overtake. I really like the Middle East; the facilities are always fantastic so I am looking forward to heading back there.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India

“Bahrain is always an enjoyable weekend: I really like the paddock and the atmosphere around the venue is great. There’s always a fairy-tale feel in the paddock and the facilities are fantastic, especially at night when all the lights turn on. It is also the place where I drove my first Formula One race, back in 2010, so I have some very good memories about this race.”

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus

“Bahrain is a good circuit. I would say it is a ‘complete’ circuit because it has a mix of high, medium and low speed turns, plus good sequences of corners. It’s challenging over a lap and makes for an enjoyable race. The weather can get pretty hot, although this won’t be as much of a challenge as we’re racing at night now. The facilities for the teams are great and it’s one of the easiest circuits to work in as the paddock feels welcoming, there’s plenty of space for us yet it doesn’t feel like you’re at a massive venue like some tracks do.”

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda chief officer of motorsport

“The Bahrain Grand Prix is very hard on fuel and, with its many straights, it’s a very demanding circuit for the power units. Despite our short experience on track, we will combine the data gathered in the last three races to gain better positions in the race this weekend.”

Felipe Massa, Williams

“Bahrain is the first night race of the season and is a spectacular place to watch a race. I always have fond memories of tracks where I have won before and I have managed to step onto the top step of the podium twice in Bahrain. I hope our car can show its true pace and utilise its straight line speed on the long straights. The track and facilities are always excellent in Bahrain, which is an added bonus when going to any race.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren Racing director

Bahrain is a spectacular facility and a circuit that we love going to; it’s a special event for the team. As the race takes place under floodlights it’s fantastic for the fans and there’s always a very unique atmosphere. The circuit itself is very interesting and produces great racing on its fast corners, so we will be looking to race as hard as we can with our nearest competitors this weekend… We will give it our all in Bahrain, as always, and try to enjoy everything this impressive circuit has to offer.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus

“It’s a good track and I’m happy to go back there. I’m especially looking forward to being able to race in Bahrain at night with a fast and reliable car. It’s a really fun circuit and one I enjoy racing at. Two of the three times I’ve raced at the Bahrain International Circuit in Formula One I’ve been on the podium…  I like the long straights followed by the hairpins and then the twisty middle section with a lot of G-force which makes it exciting. It gives the driver plenty to do behind the wheel.”

Sergio Perez, Force India

“Returning to Bahrain brings back a lot of good memories. Last year’s race had all you can ask from it: a lot of action, a great performance and of course finishing on the podium. It’s a good track for me; I won there in GP2 and generally always had good races so I feel positive about going there. The track itself is a stop-and-go circuit with long straights, sharp braking zones followed by rapid acceleration: rear tyre degradation is quite high and I expect it to be one of the themes of this race. Grip is always a challenge with all the dust blowing on the track, and the surface evolves a lot during the weekend.”

Federico Gastaldi, Lotus Deputy Team Principal

“Bahrain is a venue we do like visiting. The circuit provides a good challenge and it’s a track where we’ve performed well in the past. The paddock has a very social atmosphere and we always receive a very warm welcome from everyone involved with the Grand Prix. The weather is always very warm and since last year we’ve had the added pleasure of an evening race. We’re certainly very happy to visit.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Sauber Track Engineering

“The circuit is fairly different in terms of layout and the ambient temperatures will be appreciably warmer compared to the last race in Shanghai… The more abrasive tarmac of the Bahrain circuit could open up some interesting strategy scenarios, which could add some extra excitement.”

Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal

“The memories of last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix are still fresh in our minds: it was a great emotion to see our team on the podium. Both Sergio and Nico raced admirably there and hopefully this will spur them on to perform some magic once more. Traditionally, Bahrain is a circuit that suits our car.”

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