Race Weekend Central

F1 Friday: Bahrain Grand Prix Preview

As it was last season, Sebastian Vettel leads the Formula 1 championship going into the second round at Sakir in Bahrain. The German won last year’s event as well, so Vettel could make the title race interesting if he makes this race déjà vu and extends his lead over rival Lewis Hamilton, who is certainly looking to even the score at this event.

The event, which has been sponsored by the national airline, Gulf Air, is in its fourteenth year, though was canceled in 2011, due to protests over alleged human rights abuses. The race once featured the hottest temperatures on the schedule in its early days, and in a way, still does, but has switched to staging the race at night. This move has been a tremendous success and continues today.

The circuit is 3.3 miles in length and was modified in 2010 for a  one time deal, when the cars ran on an “endurance circuit” which was another six tenths longer than the original version. In 2012, the regular circuit was reinstated.

As a constructor, Ferrari have won this event five times since it began, along with drivers Vettel and Fernando Alonso, who have won it three times each, the highest amount of triumphs in this event.

For this weekend, the top three should be tight, with not only Vettel, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas battling it out, but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finding their way at the front. The midfield should see Renault, McLaren, and even the American Haas Team – who need to get results after showing in Australia that the car has speed but the team was robbed by two bad pit stops.

This week will see major events unfold even before the lights go out on Sunday. A meeting to see whether Haas is in violation of copying last year’s Ferrari design will be discussed, along with an even more important event: The first indications of what the new 2021 Concorde agreement will look like for the future of the sport. It could be a very interesting weekend.

About the author

Mark is a motorsports journalist specializing in the field for the last 16 years in Formula 1 with experience in covering team launches, feature stories and race weekends during the season. In addition, Mark covers the World Endurance Championship, which includes the 24 Hours of Lemans. He also speaks French up to an intermediate level, with a basic understanding of German. Have worked for agencies as Racing Information Service News, Racing Nation, Fansided, the Munich Eye Newspaper in Munich, Germany, and Autoweek magazine. Mark is also a knowledgeable Formula 1 driver after graduating from both the F1 International and AGS racing academies.

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See that Hamilton has a 5 place grid penalty coming so that might make it more interesting. Still think the Mercedes has the legs on the Ferrari.

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