On the fast track


In early April, all roads led to the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, as Nico Rosberg clinched his second race of the season.

The Bahrain Grand Prix, being a night race, is always one of the most anticipated races of the season. The latest edition, which took place between April 1 and 3 this year, was no different. Thousands of Formula One (F1) fans were in for a spectacular treat as Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg claimed his first-ever victory in the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at a brilliantly floodlit Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir on April 3 evening.

With this, Rosberg joined an exclusive club of drivers who have won five consecutive Grands Prix – the Bahrain Grand Prix win was his fifth in a row dating back to the final three races of the last season and including Australia a fortnight before Bahrain. The German driver led much of the race by a comfortable margin and at the end of the 57-lap challenge was classified 10.2 seconds in front of Kimi Raikkonen.

“It’s been an awesome weekend,” he said at the podium after winning the race. “The key was the start; I had a quick getaway and from then on I was trying to control the pace. It’s absolutely awesome to get the win,” he added.

This was Sakhir’s third night race and upheld its status as the only desert F1 track amongst the 21 races worldwide. A characteristic of the course at BIC is the giant run-off areas, which have been criticised for not punishing drivers who stray off the track. However, they tend to prevent sand getting onto the track and make Bahrain one of the safest tracks in the world.

Another notable characteristic of the Bahrain Grand Prix is that although alcoholic beverages are legal in the country, the drivers do not spray the traditional champagne on the podium. Instead, they spray a non-alcoholic rose-water drink known as Waard.

Friendliest neighbours

For visitors, Bahrain has been one of the friendliest countries in the world. In addition to the citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – an alliance of six Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman – visitors from 66 countries will be able to receive visas upon arrival in Bahrain. The Kingdom also allows nationals of Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Hungary, India, Mexico, Panama, South Africa, Taiwan and Venezuela with Grand Prix tickets to obtain a visa on arrival during the event.

Off the tarmac too, there’s plenty for visitors to rejoice. One can enjoy the warm, family-friendly atmosphere and a wide variety of fun, engaging entertainment activities. There are colourful stage performances, roaming acts, carnival rides and games, children’s activities and much more.

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