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Bahrain Grand Prix

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PRE-SEASON testing showed that Max Verstappen’s new car will give him the performance advantage he enjoyed in 2023. In fact, the new Red Bull car looks to have the potential to be even faster! But the big question will be the team’s identity, which challenges Red Bull’s dominance. Based on what we saw in testing last week, that looks like a battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, and the person who will be watching that very carefully is Lewis Hamilton. After all, he has contracts with both teams; an existing one at Mercedes and his next at Ferrari. Mercedes, the team with which he won six of his seven World Championships, comes to Bahrain knowing that this is the start of Lewis Hamilton’s final season with them. Lewis desperately wants to win an eighth World Championship, partly to avenge what happened in Abu Dhabi at the end of the 2021 season and partly to end his relationship with Mercedes on a high. Ferrari will be Lewis’s new team in 12 months; months will have already turned 40. As a result, this year, I am sure he is going to be pushing like crazy to win for Mercedes while, at the same time, watching and hoping Ferrari is making enough progress to give him a winning car in 2025! However, let’s remember that Lewis loves winning and will be super focused on making the most of his final year in the silver Mercedes – before his world turns red.

Take Note

It’s incredible to think that this is the 20th Bahrain Grand Prix, and it’s worth looking at who has succeeded at the 5.4 km circuit in the desert outside Manama. The Brawn Grand Prix team won at this race back in 2009, while Renault won here twice with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006. Red Bull has won three times, twice with Sebastian Vettel and once last year with Max Verstappen. The rest of the time, this race has been split between two teams, Mercedes winning six times, one less than Ferrari. The Italian team won the first Bahrain Grand Prix thanks to my old rival, Michael Schumacher. Since then, there have been victories for Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and, in 2022, Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari looked good in testing last week, particularly over a race distance, so it’s worth watching to see whether the Italian team can continue its good record in Bahrain. In 2023, we saw that Charles and teammate Carteammate could be very quick in qualifying; the big question is whether they can maintain a good enough pace during the Grand Prix, particularly on a very abrasive track and hard-on tyres. Speed is one thing; consistency is another!

Mika’s Tip

I am going to cheat a little bit and give you two tips.

The first is to sit back and enjoy the first Grand Prix of the long 2024 World Championship season, its 24 races stretching out in front of us. The new cars look fantastic, and everyone seems to have improved, but we won’t know what is happening until the lights go out!


Also, note that the first two Grand Prix of the new season are being held on a Saturday, so make sure to follow the practice on Thursday and qualifying on Friday!


The action is sure to be fast and furious at the Bahrain International Circuit, with countless sub-plots adding drama to what promises to be a thrilling season!

Max Verstappen’s going for a fourth successive title while Lewis Hamilton bidding to end on a high in his final season. What gives? Check out our boosted odds, below:

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