2006 Bahrain Grand Prix

The 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix (officially the 2006 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix)[3] was a Formula One motor race held at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain on 12 March 2006. The 57-lap race was the opening round of the 2006 Formula One season and the third running of the Bahrain Grand Prix. It was won by the 2005 World Champions, Fernando Alonso and the Renault team. Ferrari driver and polesitter Michael Schumacher began his final season in Formula One (before his return with Mercedes in 2010) with second position. Kimi Räikkönen completed the podium after he finished in third place with the McLaren team, despite starting in last position.

2006 Bahrain Grand Prix
Race 1 of 18 in the 2006 Formula One World Championship
The Bahrain Circuit in Sakhir
The Bahrain Circuit in Sakhir
Race details
Date 12 March 2006
Official name 2006 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
Location Bahrain International Circuit
Sakhir, Bahrain
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.412 km (3.363 miles)
Distance 57 laps, 308.238 km (191.530 miles)
Weather Fine, Dry and Hot
Air Temp 23 °C (73 °F)[1]
Track Temp 40 °C (104 °F)[1] dropping to 34 °C (93 °F)
Attendance 77,000 (Weekend)[2]
Pole position
Driver Ferrari
Time 1:31.431
Fastest lap
Driver Germany Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
Time 1:32.408 on lap 42
First Renault
Second Ferrari
Third McLaren-Mercedes
Lap leaders

The race was the first Grand Prix for future world champion Nico Rosberg, son of World Champion Keke Rosberg, who raced with the Williams team. He set the fastest lap of the race and, at the age of 20 years and 258 days, broke the record for the youngest driver to do so, which he held until Max Verstappen scored his first fastest lap, at age 19, at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. It was also the debut race for the BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Midland F1 and Super Aguri teams, and drivers Scott Speed and Yuji Ide.

It also saw the début of the 2.4 litre (146.4 cu in) naturally-aspirated V8 engines which were used by all teams except Toro Rosso, who were still using the 3.0 litre (183 cu in) V10 engines that were used from 1995 to 2005, as the team's chassis, the STR1, was reused from the Red Bull RB1 from the 2005 season. This race notably marked the first time teams had fielded V8-powered cars, since the 1997 European Grand Prix.



Friday driversEdit

The bottom six teams in the 2005 Constructors' Championship and Super Aguri were entitled to run a third car in free practice on Friday. These drivers drove on Friday but did not compete in qualifying or the race.

Constructor Nat Driver
Williams-Cosworth   Alexander Wurz
Honda   Anthony Davidson
Red Bull-Ferrari   Robert Doornbos
BMW Sauber   Robert Kubica
MF1-Toyota   Markus Winkelhock
Toro Rosso-Cosworth   Neel Jani


Toyota driver Jarno Trulli before the start of the race.

The race was the first run under the new 2006 qualifying rules, in which the one-hour session is split into three 'knock out' parts. The first part eliminated Kimi Räikkönen (rear wishbone failure) and Ralf Schumacher, who was caught out by the red flag after Räikkönen's accident and failed to set a competitive time, as well as the MF1's and the two Super Aguris. The second part saw fewer surprises, with the expected runners lining up for the final top 10 part. The result was that the Ferraris swept the front row.


At the start of the race, Fernando Alonso moved up to second in the first lap, only for Michael Schumacher to begin to pull away. Alonso was involved in a near collision with Schumacher's teammate Felipe Massa, who spun at the first corner. Massa was never a threat after this point, not helped by a delay in his pit stop to change tyres the same lap. Alonso's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella also played little part in the race due to an engine mapping problem which restricted power. He retired on the 21st lap due to hydraulic failure. A live team radio broadcast in which the team informed him that he would have to cope with the engine as well as he could led to Fisichella swearing in response;[4] this incident resulted in future team radio broadcasts being time-delayed. To the surprise of few, Kimi Räikkönen quickly moved his way up the field, only being delayed by Jacques Villeneuve and Fisichella for a short period of time, before passing both men.

Further down the field, Nick Heidfeld and Nico Rosberg, who was making his Grand Prix début, touched at the first corner. Both men were significantly delayed, but recovered. Heidfeld's day continued to get worse, as an incident with David Coulthard was investigated after the race.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished 5th in his McLaren, having never been a threat throughout the race. It was a good day for Williams on a whole, as Mark Webber finished in 6th, while Rosberg was the surprise of the race though, ending up a very respectable 7th, passing Christian Klien after catching him in the last few laps of the race, putting Klien down to a still impressive 8th. Rosberg set the fastest lap of the race, becoming the youngest driver ever to achieve this in a Grand Prix, breaking a record held by Alonso.

Michael Schumacher started on pole for Ferrari and finished the race in second position.

Honda suffered mixed fortunes throughout the race. Early on fans were treated to a fight between Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button, as Button slipped down the order due to a slow getaway. Button eventually fought his way back up, twice passing Juan Pablo Montoya at the end of the straight but losing out again in pitstops. He eventually finished 4th, 0.6 seconds behind Räikkönen in 3rd. Räikkönen fought hard throughout the race, stopping only once on his way to the last podium spot. He rose 19 places in the race which is more than any driver since Fabrizio Barbazza started 25th and finished sixth in the 1993 San Marino Grand Prix.[5]

At the second set of pit stops, Alonso was able to take advantage of staying out longer than Schumacher by coming out of the pit lane side by side with Schumacher. As they came into the first corner both cars were neck and neck, but Alonso was able to pull out in front of the former world champion. Despite coming under heavy pressure from Schumacher towards the end, the reigning champion started off the season with a well earned victory.

After a tussle with David Coulthard, Nick Heidfeld was reprimanded by stewards post-race for positioning his car in a way that forced Coulthard off the race circuit. Coulthard suffered engine failure on cool-down lap and received a 10-place grid penalty for 2006 Malaysian Grand Prix.

This was the first race for the Midland, BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Honda F1 and Super Aguri teams, although only Super Aguri was a completely new team, the others all representing buyouts or rebrandings of existing teams. Along with Rosberg, Scott Speed and Yuji Ide were also making their Grand Prix débuts.



Pos. No. Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Q3 Grid
1 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:33.310 1:32.025 1:31.431 1
2 6   Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:33.579 1:32.014 1:31.478 2
3 12   Jenson Button Honda 1:32.603 1:32.025 1:31.549 3
4 1   Fernando Alonso Renault 1:32.433 1:31.215 1:31.702 4
5 4   Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.233 1:31.487 1:32.164 5
6 11   Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:33.922 1:32.322 1:32.579 6
7 9   Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 1:33.454 1:32.309 1:33.006 7
8 15   Christian Klien Red Bull-Ferrari 1:34.308 1:32.106 1:33.112 8
9 2   Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:32.934 1:31.831 1:33.496 9
10 16   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:33.374 1:31.958 1:33.926 10
11 17   Jacques Villeneuve BMW Sauber 1:33.882 1:32.456 11
12 10   Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 1:32.945 1:32.620 12
13 14   David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 1:33.678 1:32.850 13
14 8   Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:33.987 1:33.066 14
15 20   Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:34.439 1:33.416 15
16 21   Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:33.995 1:34.606 16
17 7   Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:34.702 17
18 19   Christijan Albers MF1-Toyota 1:35.724 18
19 18   Tiago Monteiro MF1-Toyota 1:35.900 19
20 22   Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:37.411 20
21 23   Yuji Ide Super Aguri-Honda 1:40.270 21
22 3   Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes no time1 22
  • ^1Kimi Räikkönen suffered a right rear suspension failure during his first timed lap. The suspension failure, which was due to a manufacturing fault, red flagged the session and ended Räikkönen's qualifying session.[8]


The podium ceremony after the race.
Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1   Fernando Alonso Renault 57 1:29:46.205 4 10
2 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 57 +1.246 1 8
3 3   Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 57 +19.360 22 6
4 12   Jenson Button Honda 57 +19.992 3 5
5 4   Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes 57 +37.048 5 4
6 9   Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 57 +41.932 7 3
7 10   Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 57 +1:03.043 12 2
8 15   Christian Klien Red Bull-Ferrari 57 +1:06.771 8 1
9 6   Felipe Massa Ferrari 57 +1:09.907 2
10 14   David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 57 +1:15.541 13
11 20   Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth 57 +1:25.997 15
12 16   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 56 +1 Lap 10
13 21   Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 56 +1 Lap 16
14 7   Ralf Schumacher Toyota 56 +1 Lap 17
15 11   Rubens Barrichello Honda 56 +1 Lap 6
16 8   Jarno Trulli Toyota 56 +1 Lap 14
17 18   Tiago Monteiro MF1-Toyota 55 +2 Laps 19
18 22   Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 53 +4 Laps 20
Ret 23   Yuji Ide Super Aguri-Honda 35 Engine 21
Ret 17   Jacques Villeneuve BMW Sauber 29 Engine 11
Ret 2   Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 21 Hydraulics 9
Ret 19   Christijan Albers MF1-Toyota 0 Driveshaft 18

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ a b "2006 Bahrain GP". Chicane F1. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Trends in Bahrain". 22 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Bahrain". Formula1.com. Archived from the original on 20 October 2006. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Fisichella apologises for Bahrain outburst". www.autosport.com. 16 March 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "F1 2006 review: stats". F1Fanatic.co.uk. 2006. Retrieved 12 August 2007.
  6. ^ Domenjoz, Luc; et al. (February 2007). Formula One Yearbook 2006-2007. Chronosports S.A. p. 82. ISBN 978-2-84707-110-8.
  7. ^ "2006 FORMULA 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix - Qualifying Results". Formula1.com. Formula One Administration. 11 March 2006. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  8. ^ "All Ferrari front row in Bahrain". Formula1.com. Formula One Administration. 11 March 2006. Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Domenjoz, Luc; et al. (February 2007). Formula One Yearbook 2006-2007. Chronosports S.A. p. 87. ISBN 978-2-84707-110-8.
  10. ^ a b "Bahrain 2006 - Championship • STATS F1". statsf1.com. Retrieved 8 March 2019.

External linksEdit

Previous race:
2005 Chinese Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2006 season
Next race:
2006 Malaysian Grand Prix
Previous race:
2005 Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain Grand Prix Next race:
2007 Bahrain Grand Prix

Coordinates: 26°01′57″N 50°30′38″E / 26.03250°N 50.51056°E / 26.03250; 50.51056