This type of track near enough always forces tactical battles between teams, of which we expect there to be some between Mercedes and Red Bull once again.
Verstappen looked to be the favourite to win the GP at Sakhir last time out due to his pace, however without the support of his teammate Perez following Red Bull’s gamble in qualifying that didn’t pay off, he was left isolated out in front with both Hamilton and Bottas on his tail.
Mercedes reacted first in the pit stops by pitting Hamilton first, performing the undercut which gave Hamilton the lead of the GP, of which he never surrendered despite a dramatic finish at the end of the race which saw Red Bull’s first driver overtake the Brit, but leave the track to do so, which forced Verstappen to give the place back, as his team believed that the move would’ve broke F1’s overtaking regulations, which would’ve incurred a potential 10 second time penalty after the race had finished.
The Dutchman is the favourite to win this weekend’s race at 11/8, whilst Hamilton is priced at 6/4, which in all truth demonstrates what the experts think, that the Red Bull is stronger than the Mercedes this year.
Bottas was also in contention to fight for the win in the last race, but, a shoddy pitstop by Mercedes pit crew saw the flying Finn lose nearly 11 seconds due to a mechanic withdrawing a tyre gun too early on one of his wheels, incidentally the second race in a row that they’d had a catastrophe in a pitstop at Bahrain involving Bottas.
The Finn finished 37 seconds behind the front two, due to pitting for a third time late on in the race in order to get the bonus point for the fastest lap, as he had fallen out of contention for the win. Bottas managed to finish on pole position last season at Imola and is priced at 7/1 to win the GP this time around.