Written by Matthew Molver for @Hollywoodbets.
Bahrain Grand Prix | Sunday 3rd April | Bahrain Grand Prix | 16:30
Sundays are starting to heat up and get loud. Our living rooms are full of the rumblings of V6 turbo charged engines, and you can almost smell the burning rubber on their wheels as the teams charge around tracks all over the world.
The season got underway at Albert Park last week and we had our first upset result with Nico Rosberg pipping his much-fancied team mate. The F1 camp now moves to the desert setting and floodlights of Sakhir for the 2016 Formula one Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
Melbourne’s Grand Prix had many glued to the edges of their seats. Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg dominated during the testing and practice runs, showing off their cars reliability and speed. However, they nearly slipped up during the main race, with Hamilton having a shaky start possibly thanks to the revised starting procedure which restricts drivers into using a single clutch paddle instead of two.
Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel,took advantage of Mercedes poor by getting ahead of his two main title rivals. Vettel dominated for a large portion of the race, although by the end the Mercedes boys still took the top two places on the podium, Ferrari made a strategic error when Vettel stuck with the super soft compounds.
When the dust settled and everything said and done, Nico Rosberg stood atop the podium, Lewis Hamilton second and Sebastian Vettel third.
Elsewhere, Red Bull’s, Daniel Riccardo managed to stay in the top five thanks to a superb pass on Nico Hulkenberg in the early laps. The local managed to claim fourth spot in front of Felipe Massa of Williams who secured fifth place. New team Haas and their driver Romain Grosjean had a debut to remember. Grosjean managed to get the better of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas from Williams. The Frenchman secured a sixth place finish and vital Constructors points for his team. The two Toro Rosso drivers rounded out the top ten.
One hopes that the drivers are prepared for blistering heat of the Bahrain International Circuit.
The track is a typical modern racing circuit with frequent braking zones and wide run- off areas. It lies in the southern half of the island state, close to its western coast. The surrounding land is generally flat, sandy desert, though the circuit itself features some noticeable elevation changes.
The circuit length is 5.412 km’s with a race distance of 308.238km with 57 laps to be done. The first two turns are very tight, which means a lot of cars will be bunching up which can cause heart flutters and sweaty palms for both the fans and the drivers. The run through the first sequence of corners and up to turn four presents one of the best overtaking opportunities on the track, even without a DRS zone. The cars then fall into line for turns five, six and seven.
This is one of the few parts of the circuit which involves a high-speed direction change, and the exposed nature of the venue can catch drivers out. Turns eight and ten are both hairpins – the latter made trickier by the downhill approach and slight kink of turn nine. This leads the drivers onto the long back straight and second DRS zone, though the high-speed entry to turn 11 means they need a good run on a rival to make a pass stick. After these two quick corners drivers suddenly find themselves bearing down on the slower turn 13 and having to pick out their braking point. The final corners are all about maximising traction at the exit to keep the speed up – particularly for those drivers who are at a power disadvantage.
Last year’s winner was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. With the Melbourne results telling of a renewed surge in Ferrari’s strength, it will be interesting to see if Hamilton can keep his pole position.
In terms of tyres, the same three compounds that were available in Melbourne will be available in Bahrain, these compounds are red-marked supersoft, yellow-marked soft and white-marked medium compound tyres, most drivers are favoring the newer super soft compounds this year. In regards to weather, we will see the remnants of a weather front that passed by during the week which made caused a moderate downpour on Monday. Cloudy skies and relatively cool temperatures will greet the teams for practice. Saturday and Sunday will be warmer, though, with temperatures remaining below the long-term April average. The thermometers will be hovering at around 22 degrees Celsius when the sun goes down and the racing action gets under way, with air temperatures expected to be no lower than 19 degrees by the time the chequered flag falls.
To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton 1/10 | Nico Rosberg 87/100 | Sebastian Vettel 4/1 | Kimi Raikkonen 13/1 | Daniel Riccardio 79/1 | Felipe Massa 79/1 | Valtteri Bottas: 79/1 | Carlos Sainz: 99/1
Top Six Finish: Daniel Ricciardo 12/10The grinning Aussie demonstrated that Red Bull have made vast improvements on the car during the offseason. He will have been elated with his fourth place finish and I can see him bagging another top six finish this weekend. At 12/10 the Red Bull man offers great value.
Fastest Qualifier: 8/10
My money this week for the fastest qualifier would be on Ferraris Sebastian Vettel. Although Mercedes beat them out in reliability, Ferraris new car has shown much promise in terms of having an edge on speed. Looking at the tests in which Vettel set blistering lap times, and at the Australian grand prix I think it is safe to say that Ferrari have a good chance of being the fastest qualifier.
To Win Outright: Lewis Hamilton 1/10
Although I myself like to root for the underdog, which in this case is Ferrari, I am going to have to go for the safer bet here and say that Mercedes Lewis Hamilton will win outright, with his previous wins on this track standing him in good stead, and the reliability of their new car which has given them precious little problems has put them way ahead of the competitors.