Round four of the 2015 Formula 1 season is at the Bahrain International Circuit in the Arabian desert, with the Sakhir circuit hosting its eleventh Bahrain Grand Prix, having debuted back in 2004.
The 5.412KM permanent racing facility will see the twenty Formula 1 drivers bring the next instalment of the 2015 season, with the memories of the exciting race from 2014 still on the minds of the fans.
Lewis Hamilton won the event twelve months ago from Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team-mate Nico Rosberg, and goes into this weekend in Bahrain having seen the same result occur last weekend in China.
Rosberg has been very vocal about Hamilton’s driving in China, but will need to refocus on the job in hand this weekend if he is to mount a serious attack on the Formula 1 Championship in 2015. He has already seen Hamilton win twice this year, while Rosberg has always been that one place behind him in every race, and the German will want to alter that statistic this weekend on the track he made his debut on in 2006.
After winning the Malaysian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel and the Scuderia Ferrari team have every expectation to be Mercedes’ main challengers once more in Bahrain, and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen cannot be ignored, with the Finn beginning to show that his form is back. As the saying goes, form is temporary, talent is permanent, and that seems to be the case with Raikkonen.
Williams Martini Racing drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas both admitted post-China that they have fallen to a clear third in the classification at present behind Mercedes and Ferrari, but are hopeful the long straights with the Mercedes power unit will benefit the team this weekend and draw them closer to the leading drivers.
The Lotus F1 Team were the clear fourth-fastest team in China, with Romain Grosjean scoring his and the team’s first points of the season in seventh. Both he and team-mate Pastor Maldonado – who has yet to see the chequered flag in 2015, the only driver yet to do so – have been praising the 2015 Lotus, and are both targeting more points this weekend in Bahrain.
Another team that showed good pace in China was the Sauber F1 Team, which saw both drivers finish inside the top ten for the second time in three races in 2015. Both Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson are now seeking for consistency in their results, and will be looking for more points this weekend.
The two Renault-powered teams had disappointing weekends in China, with only the Infiniti Red Bull Racing outfit finishing inside the top ten. Daniel Ricciardo was ninth in China after seeing his RB11 go into anti-stall mode at the start, and the Australian will be seeking an improved weekend in Bahrain.
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat was forced to retire for the second time in three races with an apparent engine failure, the same problem that befell Max Verstappen in the sister Scuderia Toro Rosso whilst running inside the top ten with just a handful of laps to go.
Both Verstappen and team-mate Carlos Sainz will be looking to return to points scoring form in Bahrain, while both Red Bull and Toro Rosso will be hoping the power unit issues that have blighted their season so far will not resurface again this weekend.
The Sahara Force India showed improved performance in China, with Sergio Perez just failing to score points in eleventh. Unfortunately reliability, which is usually one of the team’s strengths, let them down on Nico Hulkenberg’s car, with the team hoping that this was a one-off. They will also be hoping to secure their first points since the season opener in Australia.
For the first time all season in China, both McLaren-Honda’s were able to finish the race, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button twelfth and fourteenth at the flag. They continue to see the gap to those in front of him dwindle, and although neither are expecting a major performance leap this weekend, they will both be hoping to finish once more.
The Manor F1 Team also made more progress in China, with the team seeing both Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi complete the race last weekend. The two drivers may only have each other to gauge their performances on, as they can only do what the car allows them to do, but they are doing everything that is asked of them.
2014 Bahrain Grand Prix Podium
|3||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||+24.067s|
2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Race Victory Odds
|Lewis Hamilton||4/9||Kimi Raikkonen||14/1|
|Nico Rosberg||5/2||Felipe Massa||66/1|
|Sebastian Vettel||9/1||Valtteri Bottas||66/1|
|All odds courtesy of Ladbrokes and are correct as of 15 April 2015. Odds may change before event. Other drivers quotes available.|