F1 2018: Bahrain Grand Prix Preview

The second stop on this year's F1 calendar is out in Bahrain, with those daring men and their flying machines set to duke it out at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday the 8th of April.

We may only be one race into the season but 2018 is already shaping up to be an extremely competitive year with Ferrari looking to have levelled out the power stakes with arch-rivals Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel's impressive victory out in Australia leaves the German ace top of the Drivers' Championship pops as the teams head for the Bahrain Street Circuit.

Previous Race
Things seemed to be following a very familiar script out in Australia with Lewis Hamilton landing himself on pole and McLaren struggling with technical issues. It wasn't to be a by the book weekend, however, with Sebastian Vettel claiming an unlikely race victory as an error in time judgment from Mercedes handed the Ferrari main man the win. There was to be more joy for the  'Prancing Stag' as Kimi Raikkonen claimed the final podium berth.

Last Sunday's race saw Mercedes produce - and whisper this part - a 'mare of a race'. Well, at least by their standards. Lewis Hamilton managed a bittersweet second place, while Valtteri Bottas' eighth-place finish saw Ferrari establish a solid Constructors' lead after the opener.

Like Mercedes, Red Bull didn't have the best of times at the Melbourne Street Circuit with Daniel Ricciardo finishing fourth and Max Verstappen sixth. Sandwiched in between the Red Bull duo was surprise package Fernando Alonso, who got the best out of a much improved McLaren.

The remainder of the top 10 comprised of Nico Hulkenberg (Seventh), Stoffel Van Dorne (Ninth) and Carlos Sainz (10th).

To Win Race
Lewis Hamilton 15/20 | Sebastian Vettel 7/2 | Valterri Bottas 5/1 | Max Verstappen 12/1 | Daniel Ricciardo 14/1  | Kimi Raikonnen 16/1 | Kevin Magnussen 200/1

The Bahrain International Circuit was designed by – you guessed it – F1’s favourite engineer, Hermann Tilke. The tiny Kingdom spared no expense when it came to constructing the complex with in excess of $150 million going into the original construction contracts.

While the actual complex is home to six different circuits, the one we’ll focus our attention on is the 5.412 kilometres long Grand Prix circuit. The track throws up fifteen different turns with three challenging hairpins set to really test the field.

Last year's race was won by Sebastian Vettel, while the podium was rounded out by the twin Mercedes with Hamilton claiming second and Valtteri Bottas third. Speaking of Bottas, the 'Finn actually managed to claim pole position in Bahrain last year, and could certainly be worth following on the same market in 2018.

Value Bet - Red Bull 16/1

I will be making a concerted effort this season to find some massive price for the value bets. Last week, we came within touching as Fernando Alonso claimed fifth in Australia as opposed to the podium position I tipped him for. I've eyed up another fish this weekend, and like Captain Ahab himself; I'm after the big one.

The 'Moby Dick' references, along with the tip, may allude to me having lost my mind. There is a method to my madness ladies and gentleman. I assure you of that.

Max Verstappen was one of the first retirees at the track last season, while he also failed to make it to the finish line in 2015 whilst still driving for Toro Rosso. At 22/1, and with those statistics staring me in the face, I can't help but have a punt on Red Bull producing the first retiree of the day.

Fastest Qualifier - Sebastian Vettel 7/2
The Ferraris looked solid during qualifying in Melbourne last week, with Vettel claiming third and Kimi Raikkonen claiming fourth. They seem to have closed the gap on Mercedes when it comes to te power stakes, which means that Lewis Hamilton's monopoly on pole position may be coming to a close.

Seb enjoyed a solid if not spectacular qualifying session out in the "desert" last year, claiming third. My money is on him going two better this time around.

To Win Race - Kimi Raikkonen 16/1
Initially, I was going to back Vettel to take the honours here but then I saw a massive price - I just couldn't resist - on the head of one Kimi Raikkonen.

Look, Kimi has never one in Bahrain but everything has to come to an end at some point. He managed to take second place in 2016 and produced a credible fifth place last season. I'll be having a very small punt on the 'Finn to claim race honours in the hope of a big payday.

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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