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Rating the perfect F1 rookie performances in Bahrain

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The Sakhir Worldwide Circuit has hosted the opening spherical of the F1 season on 4 earlier events because it made its debut on the calendar in 2004 – claiming the honour in 2006, 2010, 2021 and 2022.

In every of these years, not less than one driver made their first F1 begin within the Bahrain Grand Prix, whereas in 2020 the observe hosted two races on consecutive weekends with the Sakhir Grand Prix on the shortened outer loop observe additionally marking the primary appearances of Jack Aitken (Williams) and Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas).

A deceptively tough circuit on which to start out out, a number of newcomers have fallen foul of the circuit’s foibles and made expensive errors that successfully factored themselves out of inclusion on this checklist.

On the only outing for the longer endurance structure in 2010, Williams rookie Nico Hulkenberg blotted his copybook with a spin on the chicane, whereas in 2021 Haas driver Mick Schumacher was consigned to a lonely night by spinning after a security automotive restart. Nonetheless, not less than he acquired previous the primary lap…

For the avoidance of doubt, drivers that did not attain the end should not thought-about for the checklist.

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Right here, Autosport ranks the 5 greatest outings by a debutant in Bahrain – which this 12 months’s crop will certainly hope to emulate.

5. Scott Velocity, 2006

The primary American F1 driver for 13 years made a strong however unspectacular debut in Bahrain

Photograph by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Automobile: Toro Rosso-Cosworth STR1
Grid: sixteenth
End: thirteenth

The primary American on the Method 1 grid since Michael Andretti in 1993 loved a whirlwind journey to the highest. The 2004 Method Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion was on the rostrum on his first GP2 begin in 2005 and by mid-season had made his free follow bow with Pink Bull in Canada.

Within the former Minardi group’s first race underneath its new Toro Rosso id, Velocity and team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi had been anomalous in utilizing a detuned V10 engine amongst a sea of V8s. Velocity really outpaced Liuzzi, who had made 4 race begins with the senior group in 2005, and Pink Bull’s Christian Klien in Q1 earlier than ending up sixteenth on the grid, one place behind Liuzzi in Q2.

Scuffling with the stability, he put collectively an uneventful race to complete a lapped thirteenth, two spots behind Liuzzi however forward of each Toyotas and Rubens Barrichello’s Honda – not a standout by any means, however a mistake-free occasion and a end on the board.

4. Zhou Guanyu, 2022

Zhou enjoyed good fortune to score points on his F1 debut but proved he deserved a place on the grid

Zhou loved luck to attain factors on his F1 debut however proved he deserved a spot on the grid

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Automobile: Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42
Grid: fifteenth
End: tenth

Method 1’s solely rookie of 2022 immediately silenced critics that he owed his place on the grid to his nationality by scoring a degree on his debut. Certain, the outcome owed lots to Pink Bull’s late reliability dramas as gas methods sidelined first Max Verstappen then Sergio Perez within the remaining few laps to spice up him up the order.

However Zhou had impressed by reaching Q2 on the first time of asking and needed to struggle again within the race from his automotive participating anti-stall on the opening lap, placing in an important cross on Mick Schumacher’s Haas. Describing his afternoon as a “rollercoaster” was completely becoming.

A lap time deletion that value him one spot on the grid – though in the end inconsequential – was the one blight because the Chinese language driver made historical past.

3. Yuki Tsunoda, 2021

Tsunoda was called F1's best rookie in years by Ross Brawn after his Bahrain debut

Tsunoda was known as F1’s greatest rookie in years by Ross Brawn after his Bahrain debut

Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Automobile: AlphaTauri-Honda AT02
Grid: thirteenth
End: ninth

It took all people abruptly when rookie Tsunoda ended Q1 second solely to Max Verstappen. That eye-catching late run on mushy tyres which secured his spot in Q2 and the swashbuckling nature of his run to ninth within the race prompted Ross Brawn to label the Japanese driver the “greatest rookie F1 has had for years”.

Tsunoda discovered himself down in thirteenth on the grid after scuffling with the medium tyres in Q2, leaving him to languish eight locations behind his team-mate Pierre Gasly in fifth. However he made amends within the race following a sluggish begin, rescuing two factors for AlphaTauri after Gasly’s race was wrecked by contact with Daniel Ricciardo earlier than gearbox gremlins struck.

Passing Alpine returnee Fernando Alonso was “an emotional expertise”, and Tsunoda earned additional plaudits for zapping Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin on the ultimate tour to attain a 9 in Autosport’s driver scores.

2. Stoffel Vandoorne, 2016

Vandoorne had a last-minute call to make his F1 debut in Bahrain in 2016

Vandoorne had a last-minute name to make his F1 debut in Bahrain in 2016

Photograph by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Automobile: McLaren-Honda MP4-31
Grid: twelfth
End: tenth

The reigning Method E champion is an outlier on this checklist as a result of he wasn’t a full season common in 2016. As a substitute, Vandoorne’s debut was a credential-boosting cameo because the 2015 GP2 champion subbed for Fernando Alonso, who had suffered rib accidents in his huge Australian Grand Prix shunt.

At late discover when the FIA dominated Alonso out of the occasion, Vandoorne flew over from Japan – his base for the 12 months in Tremendous Method – and impressed as he out-qualified seasoned veteran Jenson Button by two positions. The pack bunching forward of him following Valtteri Bottas clattering Lewis Hamilton at Flip 1 value a couple of spots, however Vandoorne put collectively an “completed” drive thereafter to finish the factors after energy unit failure sidelined Button and earn a 9 in Autosport’s driver scores.

1. Nico Rosberg, 2006

2016 F1 world champion Rosberg made a stunning start to his grand prix career in Bahrain back in 2006

2016 F1 world champion Rosberg made a surprising begin to his grand prix profession in Bahrain again in 2006

Photograph by: Andre Vor / Sutton Photographs

Automobile: Williams-Cosworth FW28
Grid: twelfth
End: seventh

On the circuit the place he’d clinched the GP2 title the earlier 12 months with a then-unprecedented weekend sweep, and the place he would go on to win for Mercedes in 2016, Rosberg clearly had affinity for Bahrain. And that was additionally on present when he made his F1 debut with a surprising restoration to seventh after dropping his nostril in a primary nook tangle with Nick Heidfeld’s BMW.

Rosberg was unable to comply with team-mate Mark Webber into Q3 after two spins and that meant he began proper within the thick of the pack – his conflict with Heidfeld prompting a primary lap go to to the pits. Technical director Sam Michael reckoned it had value him 45 seconds, and on the flag he was 44s shy of third-placed Kimi Raikkonen after charging again into the factors. Autosport labelled it a “majestic” efficiency, as he ended up just one place and 22s shy of Webber with passes on the Pink Bulls of David Coulthard and Christian Klien.

“That is probably the most spectacular grand prix debut I can ever bear in mind anybody making,” remarked Jackie Stewart. “Not many individuals can overtake like that.”

That he grew to become simply the fourth driver ever to report the quickest lap on debut, 0.115s quicker than Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari, simply earns him the highest spot in our rating.

Do you agree with our best F1 rookie performances in Bahrain list?

Do you agree with our greatest F1 rookie performances in Bahrain checklist?

Photograph by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images



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