This will be the first time that the Bahrain International Circuit will have been raced in the dark by Formula 1 cars. Couple this with the new regulations and it is safe to say that you can throw away everything that you thought you knew about this race.
Mercedes have carried on their early domination of the championship by locking out the front row of the grid for the first time this season. Rosberg is the bookies favourite to win the race at a price of 10/11 but, due to starting just behind the German, Hamilton is slightly odds-against at 11/10.
These two have been very evenly matched for the most part this season, so it is hard to choose between them.
As a curveball and a sort of ‘what if’ option, I will throw Bottas into the mix. The Finn has carried on from his impressive 2013 season with some solid results and he could be around to pick up the pieces if the Mercedes duo got tangled up with each other. He is priced up at 33/1 for the win but at 2/1 you might want to go for a podium finish.
Bahrain rarely features a safety car intervention. The large run off areas make it reasonably easy for the marshals to remove cars from dangerous locations quickly. At 2/5 for no safety car periods this might be a bit short for some people but I am fairly confident of this coming in.
One of the biggest stories of pre-season was the teaming up of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari. Up until this weekend, it looked as though Alonso had the edge on Kimi, but the tables seem to have turned after qualifying.
Both drivers have been making mistakes under braking at various points around the circuit so nothing is certain going into the race as to who will beat who. SkyBet are offering prices of 4/6 for Kimi to win the in-house duel with Alonso at 11/10. This is unlikely to be a massive money maker but it is a little bit of fun if you support one of these past champions.
Vettel made a shock exit from qualifying when he failed to make it out of Q2. This failure was blamed on an issue when shifting down through the gears. This may well be a software issue but it could also be a problem with the gearbox itself. Either way though, this is not a good thing. Bookies seem to have picked up on this and have priced the reigning champion at 3/1 not to be a classified finisher.
Rosberg to win 10/11
No Safety Car 2/5
Rosberg and Hamilton to finish in the top 2 – 1/10
Worth a punt
Bottas to win 33/1
Bottas to finish on the podium – 2/1
Vettel not to be classified – 3/1
(All prices from SkyBet and correct at the time of writing)
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team.