Bahrain Grand Prix Preview | Who will edge ahead under the lights?

A preview to the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix.

When the sun sets over the Bahrain International Circuit, Formula One gets to racing. Revving 20 engines around the Sakhir desert, with two men hunting for the championship edge – as Vettel takes on Hamilton in a long awaited title fight.

Hamilton and Vettel have been rivals for years. With the pair winning all bar two F1 crowns since 2008 – Button (2009) and Rosberg (2016) the only men to stop them. But in all those years, Hamilton and Vettel have never truly fought for the top honour. Even if Vettel nearly prevented Hamilton’s maiden triumph in 2008.

2017, on the other hand, looks like that will finally change. With Ferrari and Mercedes both looking like they have what it takes to build a championship winning car. And both constructors already with a Grand Prix victory to their name this campaign.

For Ferrari and Vettel, their win came in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Where overtaking was near-on impossible and Hamilton lost time stuck behind Verstappen.

As for Mercedes and Hamilton, Lewis’ dominance in China saw the Briton complete the Grand Slam. Taking pole – with a new lap record for Shanghai – before leading every lap and posting the fastest lap on route to victory.

Respect, Hamilon and Vettel @ ChineseGP 2017 - Merc -

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton show their respect for each other following the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix. Photo credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

What’s more, the Chinese Grand Prix proved overtaking in F1 has not gone away with the new aero-heavy regs – one of the concerns poised in Melbourne.

Whereas in China, while DRS was less effective, overtakes were a spectacle. With drivers utilising DRS to move them closer, before darting down the inside, battling it out side-by-side or, like Romain Grosjean, simply drive around the outside of Massa through the long turn one.

So when F1 comes to Bahrain this weekend, overtakes should definitely be on the cards.

As even if DRS is less effective than in previous years, it should still draw drivers together like in Shanghai. From there, multiple places to overtake will present themselves. Whether it be at the top of the climb to turn four, a late lunge at turns eight or 10, or even a move like Romain in China through the fast turn 12 and into T13.

Bahrain International Circuit track guide - (c)

A track guide to the Bahrain International Circuit. Copyright: Formula 1.

Unlike the opening two rounds of the 2017 season, UK fans will be able to watch the F1 action live and uninterrupted on both Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4. Rather than non-subscribed viewers left with just highlights on free-to-air TV.

In addition to Formula One, the newly-rebranded Formula 2 Championship returns to racing in Bahrain. With the new-season of ‘GP2’ kicking off as the main support race.

Sky Sports F1
14/04 – 11:45 – Practice 1
14/04 – 15:45 – Practice 2
15/04 – 12:45 – Practice 3
15/04 – 15:00 – Qualifying
16/04 – 14:30 – Race
=> 14:30 – Track Parade
=> 15:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 15:30 – Race
=> 18:30 – Paddock Live

Sky Sports F1 Supplementary Programming:
12/04 – 20:30 – F1 Report: Preview
13/04 – 13:00 – Driver Press Conference
13/04 – 20:45 – Paddock Uncut
14/04 – 18:30 – Team Press Conference
14/04 – 19:00 – The F1 Show
19/04 – 20:30 – F1 Report: Review

Channel 4 F1
14/04 – 11:55 – Practice 1
14/04 – 15:55 – Practice 2
15/04 – 12:55 – Practice 3
15/04 – 14:55 – Qualifying
16/04 – 14:50 – Race
=> 14:50 – Build-Up
=> 15:35 – Race
=> 18:15 – Reaction

Supplementary Programming
15/04 – 14:25 – F1 Meets… Murray Walker

Formula Two – Bahrain (Sky Sports F1)
14/04 – 09:30 – Practice
14/04 – 18:00 – Qualifying
15/04 – 11:10 – Race 1
16/04 – 12:15 – Race 2

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