close global

Welcome to GPFans


  • NL
  • GB
  • ES-MX
  • GB
Verstappen to dominate as Mercedes emerge from shadows – What to expect at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Verstappen to dominate as Mercedes emerge from shadows – What to expect at the Bahrain Grand Prix

F1 News

Verstappen to dominate as Mercedes emerge from shadows – What to expect at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Verstappen to dominate as Mercedes emerge from shadows – What to expect at the Bahrain Grand Prix

The new F1 season gets underway this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix bringing the winter break to a close.

All ten teams hit the Bahrain International Circuit last week to test the new machinery in anticipation for the new campaign.

With testing times largely irrelevant last week, GPFans explores what you can expect from the first race of the season!

Verstappen and Red Bull to secure perfect start

If anyone suggests Max Verstappen and Red Bull aren't favourites for the win this weekend, don't believe them.

The Dutchman is full of confidence after securing a second drivers' title in dominant fashion last term and if the performance of the RB19 in testing is anything to go by, Red Bull is looking ominous.

As well as being fast, the car looked incredibly settled balance-wise and the race simulation runs were a class above the field.

Sergio Perez also looked in good form, so now it just remains to be seen if any team can deny then a perfect start to the year.

READ MORE: Liberty Media make $500million Las Vegas F1 prediction

A Ferrari pole?

With cars this season being an evolution rather than revolution, some traits are likely to be carried across.

If testing times are to be believed as roughly correct, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz could be in the running for pole position come Saturday.

The issue for the Scuderia is that whilst single-lap pace looks strong – as it was last year – tyre wear and long-run pace looked troublesome compared to the Red Bull.

Could there be a continuation of the Leclerc pole, Verstappen win trend that we saw last season? It looks possible.

Mercedes to show true hand

There is a sense that whilst Mercedes has been quick to cool early expectations that the W14 could rival at least Ferrari this season, the German manufacturer has kept its cards somewhat close to its chest.

Testing times would have you believe that Aston Martin is closer to challenging Mercedes for third than the Brackley-based outfit is to the Scuderia and Red Bull.

This seems unlikely given the strides taken by Mercedes late last term, so whilst there may be no challenge for victory on Sunday, expect to see Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at least mixing it up for a podium position.

Midfield pecking order to emerge

Continuing the theme of teams perhaps not showing their full potential at testing, there is little to guess in terms of the midfield pecking order.

Suggestions dictate that Aston Martin will lead Alpine in fourth and fifth, but anything after that is murky water.

Alfa Romeo, Haas and McLaren should all be in the mix despite having differing fortunes at the test, while AlphaTauri will have a point to prove after a difficult season last year.

And Williams should be a lot closer to the pack than predicted after its most promising test in years and two hungry drivers in Alex Albon and rookie Logan Sargeant.

The picture should become clear by the end of qualifying on Saturday.

Stroll struggles?

One driver who has no preparation from testing is Lance Stroll.

The Canadian was injured in a cycling accident in Spain and was forced to sit out the three days of running last week to rehabilitate.

But Stroll is back for the coming weekend, so how will he perform?

Data collected by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Drugovich will be vital in steering Stroll through the weekend, but it will be an uphill task to collect points, no matter how fast the AMR23 is.

READ MORE: Zak Brown takes fresh swipe at Red Bull over F1 budget cap breach

Ontdek het op Google Play