Many of Formula 1’s top stars enjoy racing around BIC’s 5.412-kilometre desert track.

Here are some of their thoughts as they head towards the second round of the Formula 1 season at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren

“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.”

Jenson Button, McLaren

“Bahrain is a fun track to drive on. The landscape of racing in the desert after sunset is always really special and brings a new dimension to the spectacle. Everything in Bahrain is always very slick and it’s an impressive place to be. My win there in 2009 is still a great memory and the wide track and run-off areas mean it’s a fun circuit on which to battle. I hope we can mix it with the midfield pack – it’s a very competitive area of the field – so we’ll be pushing hard to get the maximum from our package as soon as we can.”

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.”

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 more special.”

Felipe Massa, Williams

“Bahrain is definitely a place I really enjoy racing. I’ve won twice there and I’ve had many other good results. I always enjoy going there, including many times for testing. I like the people as well as the place in general and I look forward to having a good race there. It’s the second race of the season now and I really hope we can have another fantastic result in a place I enjoy.”

Valtteri Bottas, Williams

“The Bahrain evening race is a really nice one. I prefer it much more as an evening race. The track looks good and is just as nice to drive. It’s a good track for racing and I got a decent result last year.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India

Next up is Bahrain, which is a special place. As a circuit, 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.”

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. 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, Jr., Toro Rosso

“The race takes place at night, so your braking points change during the weekend and you take your references from FP2. 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!”

Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso

“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.”

Romain Grosjean, Haas

“Bahrain is not a circuit that looks very technical from a paper point of view, but I love driving it every year. We need to get more running. We need to get more mileage and further our understanding of the car. We have a long list of things we want to try and do, and things to improve. It’s a lot of work but, on the other hand, it means we can improve the car by a big chunk. I always like to keep things positive. If we can do a lot of that in Bahrain, the car will improve and that means we can keep working on better results.”

Esteban Gutierrez, Haas

“I think, in general, we can go to Bahrain making our next step forward as a team. It’s quite impressive that even though we have not been able to experiment a lot, we have a very good base line. So, I’m really looking forward to get to know more of the car to experiment more and really work on the best direction for our setup. Bahrain will help us a lot to get more consistent running, more laps in practice and hopefully a smooth weekend.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing

“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. The track is good for overtaking. 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.”

Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing

“I like the weather in Bahrain and the track is good. It might look like a simple, modern track but actually it’s very challenging to put a strong lap together. I like that Bahrain is a night race, it gives it some passion! And night racing feels like you are going into space!”

Kevin Magnussen, Renault

“I will enjoy getting out there and if you ask me if the race could be tomorrow I’d be there, no questions asked!”

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. The fact it’s a night race is pretty interesting as it’s still very dry. I feel much more comfortable after pre-season testing and am looking forward to going to a track I know and have won at before.”

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