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A Brief History of F1 in Bahrain

2004 Bahrain GP podium: Rubens Barrichello, BRA, Ferrari, Michael Schumacher, GER, Ferrari, Jenson Button, GBR, BAR Honda

Bahrain joined the Formula 1 world championship line-up for the first time 14 years ago.

The first Grand Prix in the country was held on April 4, 2004. It was very much an all-Schumacher affair, the Ferrari driver easily dominating the weekend. He was able to cruise to victory with team mate Rubens Barrichello in second.

Crossing the line some 25 seconds behind, BAR's Jenson Button joined the Maranello pair on the podium. But there was an early blow for McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen when his Mercedes engine went up in flames just seven laps into the race.

Surprisingly, Schumacher never won in Bahrain again after that. Fernando Alonso took victory in the next two races for Renault, and after that Felipe Massa delivered a brace of wins for Ferrari. Button himself took the top spot in his run to the world championship title in 2009.

Alonso won again in 2010, which was the only year when the longer Sakhir Endurance Circuit was used for the Grand Prix. Typically the race is held on the 13-turn, 5.412km (3.363-mile) Sakhir International Circuit.

The race wasn't held at all in 2011 because of political unrest in the country. The event has continued to attract criticism because of human rights complaints against the ruling government.

That hasn't stopped the race from taking place every year since then. Sebastian Vettel has emerged as the most successful driver on the Grand Prix circuit with three wins in 2012, 2013 and 2017. Lewis Hamilton took back to back wins in 2014 and 2015, and his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg clinched the win in 2016.

In total, Ferrari have won here on five occasions compared to just three wins for Mercedes. It looks like the event will be finely balanced again in 2018. It could even get us a proper glimpse of who is really favourite to win this year's championship.

Manama, Bahrain skyline

2004 Bahrain GP: Kimi Raikkonen, FIN, Räikkönen, West McLaren Mercedes, MP4-19, Action, Track, with a burning engine

2004 Bahrain GP finish: Rubens Barrichello, BRA, Ferrari and Michael Schumacher, GER, Scuderia Ferrari

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