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Five things to expect from the Bahrain Grand Prix

Five things to expect from the Bahrain Grand Prix

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Five things to expect from the Bahrain Grand Prix

Five things to expect from the Bahrain Grand Prix

Formula One heads to Bahrain this weekend for what should have been the second race of the season and while both championships have already been decided there is plenty to get about excited about.

Originally set to take place on March 22, a lot has happened since the race was postponed and rescheduled to the upcoming weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lewis Hamilton has joined Michael Schumacher as a seven-time world champion, has toppled both the win and podium records previously held by the German and Mercedes has become the first team in history to clinch seven consecutive constructors' titles.

Do not make the mistake of believing for one second the Bahrain Grand Prix is a 'dead rubber' as there are yet more records to be taken and the small matter of a fierce midfield battle to be settled.

Without further ado then, here are five things to expect from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Midfield fight for third

The ongoing battle between Racing Point, Renault and McLaren over third place in the constructors' championship may not be as close as it was just two weeks ago when just one point separated the trio, but with Ferrari now trailing the battle by six points it has grown in intrigue.

Racing Point leads the way and is five points clear of McLaren with the gap back to Renault a further 15 points.

Each team has felt an even mix of success and disappointment across the year and, while Racing Point will be enjoying its current position, the final three races are likely to see the order shuffle yet again.

Can Ferrari match its best?

Ferrari enjoyed its best weekend of the year in securing third and fourth places in the Turkish Grand Prix, leaving Istanbul as the highest-scoring manufacturer for the weekend with 27 points.

Allowing for the unique conditions witnessed in Turkey with an extremely slippery track surface, meaning drivers remained on intermediate tyres long after slicks would ordinarily have been the tyre of choice, it is impossible to say if Ferrari is even close to being on the path to redemption.

Charles Leclerc is fifth in the drivers' standings, a testament to his ability behind the wheel given the deficiencies of the SF1000 but a more 'normal' weekend as is expected in Bahrain will add some colour to the picture as to where Ferrari currently sits in the pecking order.

No stopping Hamilton

Hamilton may have secured the championship title but the Briton now moves on to the next target and, after scoring 10 wins for the year, he can equal the record for the most wins in a single season if he completes a clean sweep in the Middle East.

The record is currently shared by Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, with the former setting the record in 2004 when there were only 18 races, with the latter equalling his idols 13 wins in 2013.

In a year with just 17 races, Hamilton's win ratio would better both the current holders at 76.47 per cent and would surpass not only the two Germans but also be the best ever win ratio for a season, a record currently held by Alberto Ascari who won six of eight races, a 75 per cent ratio, in 1952.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, as Hamilton has only previously won a maximum of six races in a row and only four drivers have ever achieved seven or more.

Rain in the desert?

It never rains in the desert, right? Well, after chaotic conditions at the last race in Turkey, F1 ‘packed away’ its wet weather tyres for the season with the three remaining races taking place in the warmer climate of the Middle East.

But it turns out they might have to get them back out again.

Current forecasts for Manama from the Met Office suggest a mix of sun and rain around the region during both Saturday and Sunday afternoons – just as the teams are preparing to head into qualifying and the race.

The later start times for both sessions mean they are likely to miss the showers, but depending on how heavy they are and how much they wash the track clean of rubber, it could again throw a bit of uncertainty into the mix.

Perez in drive to survive

In terms of reward, there is little reason for drivers to fight for championship positions below first place but tell that to the eager trio who are currently battling it out for fourth place in the table.

Heading to Bahrain, Racing Point driver Sergio Perez is sitting in fourth on 100 points, but he is just three ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and four ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

But in a twist that is tough to take, this could be Mexican driver Perez’s last hurrah and, with Red Bull considering him as a replacement for Alex Albon, he would love nothing more than to cement the position to attract the attention of his potential future employers.

Of course, with a strong reputation already forged in the sport, it is unlikely this individual season will make too much of a difference to the thinking of Red Bull.

With Albon ninth in the standings, however, and 20 points behind the Racing Point driver, the powers that be will have taken note of Perez's strong drive to second place last time out in Turkey.

Before you go...

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