Bottas, currently the table-topper, is set to gather his focus again. Hamilton knows what he has to do; being a runner’s up is not really him. Verstappen has already announced his intentions to both Ferrari and Mercedes at Albert Park. Now the question most would be wondering about is- who’ll unleash the desert heat at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix?
With its giant run-off areas, high-speed corners, long straights and, plenty of room for overtaking- the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix is upon us. Amid its quintessential heat, Sakhir, the electrifying venue for Sunday is set to go ablaze by the prospect of unfolding yet another duel that could really throw up anybody as the winner among the famous troika- Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull.
The second race of the season is upon us. Thankfully, from a fan perspective, there are 19 more races to go after this. Sit down on that couch; grab that popcorn or Ceaser’s salad and pop open the beer and Iced tea. Gather your friends, lower the music, cut away from the rest of the world.
On Sunday, as 20 drivers and therefore, 10 teams prepare to unleash themselves at the 57-lap contest, one wonders what’s in store for the top three teams on the grid.
So what could we expect from Mercedes at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix?
Not always does one find Lewis Hamilton trailing teammate Valtteri Bottas on the tables, right? At the recently-concluded Australian Grand Prix, much of the discussion during the race as also post it shifted to Valtteri Bottas. In 2018, he endured a winless run. In 2019, he began with a bang. Such is Valtteri Bottas- someone who’s yet to win at Bahrain but come the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix and given the newfound confidence the Finn is contending with, he could well make Lewis trail his Mercedes.
But Lewis Hamilton, yet to win at Bahrain since his 2014 and 2015 wins, would want to set the record straight. He’d love to do his bit in helping Mercedes offset Ferrari’s dominance.
Sakhir, lest it is forgotten, has been a kingly dominion of sorts where only the Red Cars have ruled in the past two installments.
Can Hamilton bounce back on top?
For starters, he’d do well to remember that he’s stepped on the podium in the last three installments of the Grand Prix consecutively, which in itself, is an impressive feat.
His doubters who are already hailing Bottas as being sufficiently ahead of Lewis in this year’s race would be advised to know that Hamilton has been at ‘it’ at Sakhir, ever since the 2007 race, his maiden run where he finished second. So his successes at Bahrain, winless that they may have been in past 2 seasons, are pretty much regulation job for the Briton.
Bottas, meanwhile, would be interested to prove that his stellar win at Albert Park was no flash in the pan. Interesting stuff ahead of us at Bahrain then?
Will Verstappen stun everyone, seal a spot on the podium at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix?
Max Verstappen, together with Christian Horner’s astute leadership and the experience of Dr. Helmut Marko constitutes a solid team at Red Bull.
But ever since F1 went the hybrid-engine way, Red Bull have failed to bag a win. Not a pretty statistic for a team that has consistently beaten the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari in challenging circuits such as Mexico, Monaco, and Spielberg (both in 2018).
But all of this could be set for a change given the promise of the RB15, as seen at Melbourne. While Sebastian Vettel would be wary of the menacing pace in which Verstappen blast past his defenses in the dying stages of the contest, it will be fascinating to see if Max can redo that jig and upset the familiar frontrunners at Sakhir.
On the other hand, Pierre Gasly, the former Toro-Rosso driver, would love to get going and finish with a decent accumulation at Sakhir, a track that has traditionally favored the car with better front-line speed. His P11 at Melbourne didn’t really extract anything worthy of being discussed as such.
Should Max and Gasly, with the former in particular get going in putting the pressure right from the start, it could take the power of two bulls (at the same time) for Ferrari and Merc to contend with.
Can Vettel bounce back, silence his critics at Sakhir?
In some ways, the man of the moment, if it could be said, is the bloke who could at best salvage a fourth at Melbourne.
Nothing too fancy to ever write about- right, Seb?
But Sebastian Vettel is a very different creature under the bright shiny lights at the electrifying Sakhir, one of the most enduring enigmas of the F1 roster.
Ever since Vettel’s stepped up his game starting 2017, he’s failed everyone on the grid and made the top step of the podium his.
In fact, critics and pundits both have been united in their assessment of the Ferrari as being the car with better straight-line speed here at Sakhir, vis-a-vis that of the Mercedes.
But what will Vettel do at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix? Can he complete a hat-trick of wins (2018, 2017 winner) or will he, salvage some pride and clinch a third at best for his team?
Whatever it is, Ferrari begin with a bit of pressure at Bahrain this weekend. They would be conscious about the fact that given they failed to win at Australia (a track where Vettel has won in last two seasons) they’ve got to fire out here in the parameter of the desert.
To that end, it’s time for the SF-90, currently, a subject of a polarising debate for it not having the best or ‘ideal’ aerodynamic package, to settle the dust.
And if so, maybe Red Bull’s Dr. Helmut Marko will find his answer about the pace the car is bringing to the fore.