Venue: Bahrain International Circuit
Lewis Hamilton will look back on the Australian Grand Prix as a win that got away from him but the Briton is expected to gain some quick compensation in Bahrain.
The 33-year-old was cruising to the chequered flag at Melbourne’s Albert Park until the deployment of a virtual safety car gave Sebastian Vettel a freak opportunity to sneak ahead.
Hamilton has a good record in Sakhir, winning in 2014 and 2015, and is worth sticking with at 17/20 in our Bahrain Grand Prix betting predictions.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff commented on the trip Down Under: “This was the one that got away and it is a bitter pill to swallow.
“The software or system we have been using for five years just gave us the wrong number.
“Lewis did nothing wrong. It was down to a software bug or an algorithm that was simply wrong.”
Hamilton declared that second place felt “like a dark cloud” but there were plenty of positives to take from the start of his title defence.
He declared: “In the race, I had extra tools so I could have been further ahead by the first pit stop, and I could have been further ahead after it. There were so many good things we could have done.”
How the Australian Grand Prix finished:
1 Vettel (Ferrari), 2 Hamilton (Mercedes), 3 Raikkonen (Ferrari), 4 Ricciardo (Red Bull), 5 Alonso (McLaren), 6 Verstappen (Red Bull), 7 Hulkenberg (Renault), 8 Bottas (Mercedes), 9 Vandoorne (Renault), 10 Sainz (Renault), 11 Perez (Force India), 12 Ocon (Force India), 13 Leclerc (Sauber), 14 Stroll (Williams), 15 Hartley (Toro Rosso), DNF Grosjean (Haas), Magnussen (Haas), Gasly (Toro Rosso), Ericsson (Sauber), Sirotkin (Williams)
The German commented: “Lewis had a great lap in qualifying and he deserved pole position. He drove a very good race, controlled it in the beginning, and we got a bit lucky, but we’ll take it.”
Raikkonen failed to sparkle for much of last season but has now finished third in four of the last five grands prix.
The flying Finn said: “Overall, I was pretty happy with my car, the speed was there all day. It’s nice to have a good feeling.
“For sure, there are things to improve, but if the feeling stays like this we’ll have all the tools to fight. And this is the most important thing.”
Ricciardo’s performance highlighted that Red Bull will again have good pace on race days in 2018, but he and team-mate Max Verstappen (10/1) must improve in qualifying.
Fernando Alonso (150/1) crossed the line an encouraging fifth for McLaren, suggesting the switch to a Renault engine will pay dividend this year.
“I think it’s going to get better and better with races,” said the Spaniard. “Some of the updates will come in the coming races, so hopefully we can look up a little more.”
Past Bahrain Grand Prix results:
2017 Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas (Mercedes)
2016 Rosberg (Mercedes), Raikkonen (Ferrari), Hamilton (Mercedes)
2015 Hamilton (Mercedes), Raikkonen (Ferrari), Rosberg (Mercedes)
2014 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg (Mercedes), Perez (Force India)
2013 Vettel (Red Bull), Raikkonen (Lotus), Grosjean (Lotus)
2012 Vettel (Red Bull), Raikkonen (Lotus), Grosjean (Lotus)
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