Bahrain GP: 5 things to watch out for




Will Nico be able to fight off Hamiton?

The battle between Mercedes team mates, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will now reach a complete cycle at Bahrain GP as this is the same track where last year, cold war between the two drivers gave way into their first verbal dispute giving them huge media highlight. Nico’s outburst against Lewis for ‘compromising’ his race, in last week at China has only showed that their issues are still unresolved. Nico has done well at Bahrain last year grabbing pole only to see him finish second to Lewis. At the Friday practice, Nico Rosberg has posted the fastest time ahead of Lewis. Rosberg would be keen to redeem himself as a worthy opponent in the car and just words by beating his team mate and not repeating his previous year’s mistake.

Bahrain Grand Prix: 5 things to watch out for

Bahrain Grand Prix: 5 things to watch out for

Is Ferrari planning something?

The surprise win by Sebastian Vettel in the second race at Malaysia has brought the Ferrari equation back in question. Although from the races so far we have seen Mercedes cars are the quickest, Ferrari can manage the tyres better and have the flexibility to adjust. The Bahrain circuit is very dusty due to sand being blown across the whole circuit from the nearby desert. It makes this track the most abrasive surface in the whole season. Ferrari hence, may have a slight edge in the terms of race strategy. Temperature however can play to Mercedes favour as the twilight/night race will see temperatures equal or lower than China. It was in the hot and tropical region of Malaysia that favoured the reds over the silvers. Friday practice session saw Kimi Raikkonen Sebastian Vettel setting blistering lap times comparable to the Mercedes. Qualifying may go the Mercedes cars but Ferrari certainly have the race pace to pose a serious threat.

Will McLaren make a comeback?

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said that Honda will add power to its engine before the Bahrain GP. This move is made by the team after improving the reliability of the car in the past two weekends. Honda has been working to improve the reliability of the unit and without proper winter testing, the team has no data to work on. This has made the engineers look at these weekends as a test run aimed at telemetry data collection. Eric said that the race result is disappointing however he was glad that there was no issue with the car and that the team now can work on the next phase. According to the team, they crossed a major reliability test at Chinese grand prix and now they are looking to unleash some of their potential. Qualifying still may not be impressive warns McLaren, but they are hopeful of good race pace and being able to fetch some points this weekend.

Race Strategy

Pirelli believe that the race will be fought on mostly a two-stop strategy. The tyre option remains the same as that of China with the option of P Zero white medium and yellow soft tyres for this race at Bahrain. Although being the middle-east, which is expected to be hot, the race is scheduled to take place in the evening which will mean cooler ambient temperature. Two DRS zones will be available for the drivers. The first has a detection point on exit of turn 9 and activation on the back straight between turn 10 and 11 while the second detection zone is just before turn 14 and is activated on the main start-finish straight. Due to the heavy sand that blows across the desert tyre management will be the key. Around 54 percent of the track is run on full throttle 80 percent of which is spent cornering. One can hence imagine why this track has the highest tyre degradation rate in the whole season.

Rhythm of the night

Singapore started this trend of night races followed by Abu Dhabi and now we have Bahrain night races which started only last year. The race will start at twilight and finish after dark. This adds beautiful sunsets and gorgeous colours of the sky into the thrill of the race. The temperature also varies from the hot afternoons to the cool evenings which affect the drivers and cars in a subtle way. Loud F1cars zooming around the track under floodlight becomes more of a spectacle to behold.

With China back-to-back with Bahrain GP, the teams and drivers would have little time to clear their heads and regroup. This will be a fascinating weekend for the Formula One fans as the battle heads into the first night race of this season.

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Anjan K Merkap

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