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Moments in Time - the Bahrain Grand Prix

03 Apr 2014

In our series exploring the history of Grands Prix through a selection of iconic images, we focus the lens on Bahrain. This trip down memory lane takes in the first world championship race in Sakhir, an epic duel between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, a tangle between Jenson Button and David Coulthard, and more…

Double delight in the desert, 2004

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher and BAR’s Jenson Button had extra reasons to be happy on the podium at the inaugural race in Sakhir in 2004. The German maestro had just won his third race in a row to open the season, whilst the Briton had just followed up his debut F1 podium finish in Malaysia with another rostrum placing.

(© Sutton Images)

Renault let it all hang out, 2005

The Renault team celebrate ecstatically on (and almost off!) the pit wall as Fernando Alonso crosses the finish line to win the 2005 race. The Spanish driver completely dominated proceedings in the second race in the desert, easily seeing off the challenge of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli and McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen.

(© Sutton Images)

Alonso survives narrow escape with Massa…, 2006

Renault’s Fernando Alonso was busily trying to catch Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher in the early stages of the 2006 race when he was very nearly wiped out of contention by the German’s team mate, Felipe Massa. The Brazilian driver, who was running third, lost control of his car going into Turn 1 and actually overtook Alonso while going sideways. Fortunately the Spaniard saw him coming, jumped on the brakes and took avoiding action.

(© Sutton Images)

…and then defeats Schumacher for the win, 2006

Having had a narrow escape earlier in the race (see above photo), Fernando Alonso was intent on catching and passing chief title rival Michael Schumacher. Despite the Renault driver’s relentless pursuit, Schumacher held the lead until the second round of pit stops. Alonso was able to stay out three laps longer than Schumacher and that gave the Spaniard just enough time to close the gap. Alonso (blue car) was side-by-side with the scarlet Ferrari as he exited the pits on Lap 40 and, as you can see in this picture, forcefully made use of the inside line into Turn 1 to complete the decisive pass of the race. It was a truly exhilarating moment from two F1 greats.

(© Sutton Images)

Majestic Massa savours victory, 2007

At the previous round in Malaysia, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa had slipped from pole at the start to fifth at the flag, but there was to be no such repeat in Bahrain. The Brazilian qualified in P1 again in Sakhir, only this time he led confidently from the front, holding off a stern challenge from impressive McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton to claim his first win of the season. As you can see in this image, Massa celebrated his victory in typically passionate fashion in parc ferme.

(© Sutton Images)

Button and Coulthard tangle at Turn 8, 2008

An early puncture pitched Honda’s Jenson Button back down the order in the 2008 race, but after a brief trip to the pits he stormed back through the field. By lap 19 he was tucked up behind the Red Bull of David Coulthard, but when he attempted to pass going into Turn 8 things went drastically wrong. Button (on the left) lunged for the apex, but Coulthard closed the door under braking and the pair collided. Button was out on the spot, whereas Coulthard limped home in a disappointing 18th.

(© Sutton Images)

Toyota fail to convert front row lockout, 2009

In their eight years of F1 racing, Toyota never managed to taste victory, but perhaps they should have in Sakhir in 2009. The Japanese team grabbed both front row grid slots - with Jarno Trulli (right) taking pole ahead of team mate Timo Glock (left) - but after leading away at the start, failed to make use of their lighter fuel loads and were jumped at the pit stops by the eventual winner, Brawn’s Jenson Button (middle of the pack in this picture, white car, bright yellow helmet). Trulli eventually came home third; Glock seventh.

(© LAT Photographic)

Webber’s smoky start, 2010

Mark Webber ensured a dramatic start to the first lap of the 2010 race when his Red Bull billowed oily smoke as it went through the opening sequence of corners. With visibility limited and the track slick with oil, it was inevitable that there would be trouble amongst those following the Australian, and sure enough Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Renault’s Robert Kubica were soon pointing in the wrong direction.

(© Sutton Images)

Raikkonen pushes Vettel all the way, 2012

Sebastian Vettel may have won the 2012 race in Sakhir, but the Red Bull driver was pushed all the way by Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen. After homing in on the back of the German driver’s car, Raikkonen (on the right) managed one solid attempt to snatch the lead on Lap 36, but Vettel repelled him forcefully. Thereafter Vettel was able to keep his rival at bay to the flag, but afterwards he certainly knew he’d been in a fight.

(© LAT Photographic)

Vettel’s passionate embrace, 2013

Sebastian Vettel’s win in the 2013 Bahrain race was his second of the season, but the first he could truly savour. His first win, in Malaysia, was controversial after he ignored team orders and passed team mate Mark Webber for the lead. There were no such concerns in Sakhir, perhaps explaining his passionate embrace of the winner's trophy.

(© Sutton Images)