The Bahrain Grand Prix at night, under the lights is 1 of the seasons is one of the most exciting events. This race which is in the middle east means travelling 7,520 miles to to Bahrain from Melbourne, Australia
Below are some Key story-lines heading into Sakhir, Bahrain at the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mi) Bahrain International Circuit this Sunday, 8 April.
In Melbourne, despite a strong qualifying lap by Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton, the Silver Arrow team could not keep up with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on race day following the controversial VSC frame that saw Vettel gain 5 secs and take lead in the race.
Valtteri Bottas debunked the assessment that Mercedes AMG was “miles ahead” after Australia. Ferrari President, Sergio Marchionne claimed the Maranello based outfit had the “perfect strategy” and pace in Melbourne, Sebastian Vettel called it luck.
Bahrain being a power on circuit with high fuel consumption and drivers at full throttle for 68% of each lap, the race simulations in practice and qualifying should settle who has the best pace between F1’s Top 2 teams.
Sebastian Vettel said that in Australia Mercedes AMG “didn’t do anything special – not more than they did last year, probably even a bit less by the looks of it.”
Since their heart-breaking double DNF in Australia, Haas, the American team have faced many questions about their pace, whether or not the Y 2018 car is a ‘Ferrari clone’, and a prompting by rival teams to investigate the closeness of the Haas/Ferrari relationship.
It should be noted that on pace, Haas was P8 and P11 in the speed trap in Australia and Kevin Magnussen has doubts that Haas can replicate it in Bahrain.
The main story for Haas going into Bahrain is whether or not the pit crew improved. Team principal, Guenther Steiner has said that the team will undergo extra pit stop practice in hopes that a similar miss hap from Australia will happen in Bahrain.
After Sebastian Vettel ‘lucked’ out on the VSC frame to take the lead in Australia, there was some outcry by commentators that the VSC rules should be clarified or that the VSC should be scrapped altogether.
Fortunately, Bahrain, due to its large runoff areas, does not yield too many virtual safety car frames, there have been only 2 at the track over the last 2 years. However, should a VSC or the proper safety car make an appearance, watch the delta times and leader to see if anyone else decides to pit to gain time.
After Mercedes AMG miscalculated the VSC gap in Australia, Lewis Hamilton led a spirited chase to close the gap with Sebastian Vettel. He got as close as 1/2 sec on a couple of occasions before turning down his engine to conserve mileage and save the engine.
If Lewis Hamilton falls behind in Bahrain, with it being a power circuit, how many laps can Lewis Hamilton or any driver do at full tilt before engine management comes into play? Remember there is still the Question: Will Lewis Hamilton show up to race or party in Dubai at the fashion event.
There was a lot of joy in the McLaren garage after Fernando Alonso finished P5 in Australia. While many see McLaren as a Top team, the team has settled into the midfield. With the right strategy, Bahrain has a tendency to award aggressive midfield chargers, particularly Force India.
So, will Force India show that stance again in Bahrain or will McLaren, Haas, or Renault take the “Best of the Rest” title there?