Venue: Bahrain International Circuit
Mercedes surprised most pundits by dominating in Melbourne and are now hard to oppose in our Bahrain Grand Prix predictions.
Valtteri Bottas secured his first win since Abu Dhabi in 2017, but Lewis Hamilton is fancied to hit back at a track where he prevailed in 2014 and 2015.
Although the Finn’s flying start meant he was a worthy winner Down Under, the margin of victory may be misleading.
Hamilton suffered damage to the floor of his W10 on lap four, leading to a loss in downforce.
The five-time world champion had earlier lit up the season’s first qualifying session to take his 84th career pole and still appeals at 8/5 for our Bahrain Grand Prix betting tips.
When asked how he saw the year panning out, Hamilton said: “I’ve been here a long, long time and I’ve never known after the first race.
“Usually after the first four races you get a better idea of where we all stand. It could be like this for four races, or it could be more scattered.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t tell you, but I can assure you that we are going to be pushing onwards and upwards from here.”
How the Australian Grand Prix finished
1 Bottas (Mercedes), 2 Hamilton (Mercedes), 3 Verstappen (Red Bull), 4 Vettel (Ferrari), 5 Leclerc (Ferrari), 6 Magnussen (Haas), 7 Hulkenberg (Renault), 8 Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), 9 Stroll (Racing Point), 10 Kvyat (Scuderia Toro), 11 Gasly (Red Bull), 12 Norris (McLaren), 13 Perez (Racing Point), 14 Albon (Scuderia Toro), 15 Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 16 Russell (Williams), 17 Kubica (Williams), DNF Grosjean (Haas), Ricciardo (Renault), Sainz (McLaren)
Ferrari officials were left scratching their heads after Sebastian Vettel had to settle for fourth and Charles Leclerc finished fifth.
Hamilton is expecting a backlash from the Italian outfit, with Vettel 5/2 to triumph in Bahrain for the third straight season.
“What I was shown and led to believe, from the analysis we were given, was that they were ahead and obviously that wasn’t the case,” commented Hamilton.
“I don’t know what their problem was, but I am sure they will come back strongly in the next races, so we have to stay on our toes.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the third place on the podium after passing Vettel and went on to push Hamilton for second until the Dutchman took a trip over the grass with nine laps left.
It was the first podium spot for a Honda-powered car in just under 11 years, the last one coming at the British Grand Prix in 2008.
Verstappen is 13/2 to prevail in Bahrain, with Hamilton stating: “The Red Bulls are there with us and I think we are going to have a really, really great battle between the three of us.”
For now, though, sticking with Hamilton has to be the safest option for our Bahrain Grand Prix predictions, while he is in to 9/10 for another drivers’ title triumph.
Past Bahrain Grand Prix results:
2018 Vettel (Ferrari), Bottas (Mercedes), Hamilton (Mercedes)
2017 Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Mercedes)
2016 Rosberg (Mercedes), Raikkonen (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes)
2015 Hamilton (Mercedes), Raikkonen (Ferrari), Rosberg (Mercedes)
2014 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes), Perez (Force India)
2013 Vettel (Red Bull), Raikkonen (Lotus), Grosjean (Lotus)
2012 Vettel (Red Bull), Raikkonen (Lotus), Grosjean (Lotus)
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