F1: Bahrain Grand Prix Preview – The Duel in the Desert

Sakhir's Bahrain International Circuit will be under the floodlights this weekend. Image sourced from @F1 via Twitter.

After a fantastic season kick-off in Australia, the F1 action now moves to the deserts of Sakhir at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Ahead of the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, Pirelli have revealed the tyre selection for this weekend, with the choice of the C1 (hard), C2 (medium) and C3 (soft) for the teams and drivers – the three hardest compounds in Pirelli’s range.

Mercedes and Red Bull struck a demeaning blow to Ferrari at the Australian Grand Prix.

The Scuderia struggled to find their feet all weekend and found themselves consistently on the bottom of the speed traps.

Finishing only fourth and fifth, the Italian outfit are determined to rectify their issues for Bahrain.

“I think we have all the tools, all the ingredients that we need,” Sebastian Vettel stated after the season opener.

“We have a good car, we know it. This weekend we didn’t, overall we’re not competitive enough, but we will be back strong.”

Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc also expressed confidence in the team to regain form in Bahrain.

“In the end, I think it’s not like we arrived with a very different car to testing,” Leclerc said.

“It’s not like Mercedes [who] has come with a very different car. So I think the car is there.”

Charles Leclerc was ordered to back off and hold position behind the sister Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in Australia. Image sourced from @leclercnews16 via Twitter.

Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly will be hoping to have a better weekend this time out after finishing a long way behind their team-mates at Albert Park, with Valtteri Bottas’ convincing win for Mercedes and Max Verstappen’s impressive podium finish for Red Bull.

Issues for Gasly in Qualifying and Hamilton’s slow start in the race severely hampered their progress.

Another driver who will be looking for vengeance in Sakhir will be the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who lost his front wing after a clumsy crash hitting a gutter when he put two wheels off the track on the opening lap.

Renault will be bringing upgrades to the Bahrain GP and are “determined to show more” as they look to top the midfield battle after being somewhat off the pace in Melbourne.

The second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh in Australia, albeit a lap down in the leaders. Image sourced from @renaultf1team via Twitter.

Ricciardo is determined to put his early retirement behind him:

“I am keen to put Australia to one side. [It was] a pretty frustrating weekend overall”.

“I’ve had a bit of rest and recovery between these two race weekends, so I head to Bahrain feeling recharged. It’s a circuit I’ve always enjoyed racing at,” added Ricciardo.

The midfield battle was extremely close at Albert Park, and a track with the characteristics of Bahrain, we can expect some more on-track action.

The Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas produced a commanding victory last time out in Melbourne, Australia.
Image Sourced from @F1 via Twitter.

And after some epic battles for the final points places in Melbourne, we should be in for another thrilling race in Bahrain.

Bahrain is no stranger to speed, with the midnight duel between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in 2014 still engraved in our brains.

Long, fast corners with an additional DRS zone at Turns 3 and 4 is sure to create some interesting racing.

Bahrain GP Session Times:

Friday 29th March 2019

Free Practice 1: 2-3:30pm (12-1:30pm GMT)
Free Practice 2: 6-7:30pm (4-5:30pm GMT)

Saturday 30th March 2019

Free Practice 3: 3-4pm (1-2pm GMT)
Qualifying: 6pm (4pm GMT)

Sunday 31st March 2019

Bahrain Grand Prix: 6:10pm (4:10pm GMT)

It is set to be a cracker under the lights at Sakhir, with Sebastian Vettel hoping to win his third Bahrain Grand Prix in a row and fifth overall after a poor result in Melbourne.

Conversely, the Silver Arrows will be looking to continue their charge as everything’s up for grabs as the Formula 1 circus heads to Sakhir for the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix.