Sebastian Vettel will be aiming for his third successive Bahrain Grand Prix win Sunday as Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) seek to show their lack of pace in F1’s Australian season opener was a 1-off.
Seem as pre-season favorites, Mr. Vettel and new team mate Charles Leclerc finished 4th and 5th at Melbourne, nearly a min behind the race-winning MercedesAMG of Valtteri Bottas.
Albert Park can be seen as something of an outlier but Ferrari hope the more traditional layout of Bahrain’s 5.4-km Sakhir desert track will allow them to unlock the full potential of the SF90 car.
The most successful team in Bahrain, with 6 wins overall, can draw encouragement from last year when MercedesAMG were faster in Australia only for Ferrari to turn the tables with a front-row lockout and victory for Mr. Vettel.
That also started a streak of 3 straight Pole positions for Mr. Vettel.
“In Bahrain, we expect to see the effect of the corrections we have made …,” said principal Mattia Binotto, who replaced Maurizio Arrivabene at the helm before the start of the season.
“We are well aware that our competitors will once again be very strong. With that in mind, we are keen to get back on track and face up to them.”
Mr. Bottas, having driven what he described as the race of his life in Australia to finish more than 20 secs ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton in 2nd place, will be keen to serve up a thriller under the floodlights.
Having come within a sec of snatching victory from Mr. Vettel last year, Mr Bottas has some unfinished business Sunday while Mr. Hamilton, who has taken 2 of MercedesAMG’s 3 wins in Bahrain, will be keen win again.
MercedesAMG team boss Toto Wolff said nothing was won or lost at Albert Park.
“Whatever the Melbourne result says, our mindset hasn’t changed since then,” he said.
“We’ve seen the potential of Ferrari’s package in Barcelona (testing), so we expect them to come back strong in Bahrain, with Red Bull in the mix as well.”
Max Verstappen finished 3rd for Red Bull Racing in Australia, the team’s 1st race with new engine partners Honda.
Frenchman Pierre Gasly, now driving alongside Mr. Verstappen, finished 4th for Honda-powered Toro Rosso in Bahrain last year and will be hoping to do even better Sunday.
Bahrain will also mark the start of the F2 Championship with Mick Schumacher, son of 7X F1 champion Michael and nephew of Ralf, making his debut in the support category.
Mick Schumacher, a part of Ferrari’s young driver academy, is also scheduled to take part in a post-race test with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo.
Here is a preview of the F1 Race at Bahrain, have a look.
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HeffX-LTN overall technical outlook for RACE is Bullish across the board, and there is very little resistance here and none above 140.26. All of our Key indicators are Very Bullish in here.