The drivers will take to the track for the second time this year when they line up for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday the 31st of March.
The 2019 season had a very similar start to the close of the 2018 season with Mercedes taking top honours once again. Surprisingly, though, it was Valtteri Bottas who brought his car across the line in first place with Lewis Hamilton claiming second.
The teams will now head to Bahrain which is a country in which the Silver Arrows have struggled in over the past two seasons, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel winning the 2017 and 2018 editions of the race.
Bahrain Grand Prix
Sunday 31 March
Bahrain International Circuit
To Win Race Outright
Lewis Hamilton 15/10
Valtteri Bottas 3/1
Sebastian Vettel 11/4
Max Verstappen 8/1
Pierre Gasly 40/1
Romain Grosjean 500/1
All the preseason hype had surrounded Ferrari but the Prancing Stag failed to deliver the goods in the opening race of the season with arch-rivals Mercedes claiming a one-two finish that saw Valtteri Bottas take race honours. The Finn was trading at a massive price for a race win and punters who backed him would have been delighted with their dividends.
While Mercedes enjoyed an ideal start to the season, the same cannot be said of their main rivals, Ferrari and Red Bull, who struggled for consistency over the race weekend. The former enjoyed a slightly more positive result in Australia with Sebastian Vettel claiming fourth and new boy Charles LeClerc taking fifth to ensure the Prancing stag exited ‘the land down under’ with a points haul of 22. Red Bull, despite main driver Max Verstappen claiming the final podium berth, could only muster up a 15 point return as new boy Pierre Gasly finished in 11th – one place out of the points positions.
The remainder of the top 10 featured five drivers from five different teams with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen claiming sixth; Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg claiming seventh; Alfeo Rome’s Kimi Raikkonen claiming eighth; Racing Point’s Lance Stroll taking ninth, and Toro Rosso’s Daniel Kvyat bringing his car home in 10th.
The Bahrain International Circuit – otherwise known as the Sakhir Circuit – was designed by F1’s favourite circuit architect, 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 kilometers long Grand Prix circuit. The track throws up fifteen different turns with three challenging hairpins set to really test the field.
Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix was won by Sebastian Vettel with Valtteri Bottas claiming second and Lewis Hamilton taking the final podium position. It was a very similar podium line-up in 2017 with Vettel again claiming top honours while Hamilton was second and Bottas was third.
In terms of the weather for this weekend, there’s a bit of rain forecast for Saturday’s qualifying sessions but Sunday’s forecast is for clear day’s.
Fastest Lap – Valterri Bottas @ 11/4
The Finn enjoyed an excellent start to his campaign and will be full of confidence come the race weekend. He has a healthy record out in Bahrain finishing on the podium for the past two years. He also claimed the Fastest Lap accolade at last year’s race on offers great value @11/4 to repeat the feat.
Fastest Qualifier – Lewis Hamilton @ 12/10
I’m sort of hedging my bets with this one as I’ll be backing Sebastian Vettel for the race win due to his impressive recent record at the track. While Hamilton’s last pole in Bahrain came in 2015, it’s still rather hard to bet against him claiming the Fastest Qualifier accolade. Mercedes were the quicker team in qualifying out in Australia and Lewis is the pole king, after all.
To Win Race Outright – Sebastian Vettel @ 11/4
This is simply too big a price to ignore. Yes, Vettel and Ferrari under-performed in the first Grand Prix of the season but the Prancing Stag engineers will have had a few weeks to get the cars’ set-up right for this one. The German ace has also won the last two Grand Prix here and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see him make it a hat trick on Sunday.
Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets