Bahrain Grand Prix

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix Preview

Many punters expected Mercedes to come home in first place in the opening Grand Prix of the F1 season. Lewis Hamilton was heavily backed to make a successful opening defence of his crown but it was his teammate, Finland’s Valtteri Bottas who eventually took the chequered flag in Australia.

The teams and drivers now move to Bahrain and while it’s early days in the season, they will be anxious to get points on the board this Sunday. In a moment, we’ll look at how the race betting is shaping up but firstly let’s get an update on the outright betting markets.

Outright Update

max verstappen

Max Verstappen

Little has changed in the outright markets and following his second place finish in Melbourne, Lewis Hamilton remains the odds on favourite to win the 2019 Drivers’ Championship. The reigning title holder is available at a top price of 10/11 with William Hill while his great rival Sebastian Vettel is available at best odds of 10/3 with Ladbrokes and Coral.

Valtteri Bottas may have won that opening GP of the season but the Finn has done little to impress the bookies. The Mercedes number 2 can be backed at a best of 13/2 with SportingBet and he is followed by Max Verstappen at a top price of 10/1 with Betway.

Moving through the list of drivers, Charles Leclerc finished in fifth place in his first drive for Ferrari and you can pick up the man from Monaco at best odds of 14/1 with BetFred and William Hill. Beyond Leclerc, we’re heading into the list of also-rans and they are headed up by Pierre Gasly at a distant best of 250/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.

In regards to the Constructors’ Championship, we saw a Mercedes 1-2 in Australia and that will have sent down a marker for the rest of the season. In the manufacturers’ long term market, Mercedes strengthen their lead at the top and can now be picked up at a top price of just 1/2 with Betway and Black Type.

Ferrari are in second place at best odds of 2/1 with Black Type again and the only other contenders as far as the bookmakers are concerned are Red Bull at a best of 14/1 - also with Black Type.

We certainly can’t see past Mercedes as far as the Constructors winner is concerned so by all means back the Germans now if you want a modest profit. The Drivers’ version could be more open however so let’s move straight on and look at the odds for Bahrain.

Race Betting

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton also heads up the race betting for Bahrain and you can pick up the Englishman at best odds of 13/8 with William Hill. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas is getting plenty of support in the markets following his win in Melbourne and the Finn is available at 27/11 with 10Bet.

Sebastian Vettel is the next name on the list at a top price of 3/1 with Unibet and Royal Panda while a gap then opens up to Max Verstappen who is on offer at 7/1 with BetFred and Betway. Moving through the list, Charles Leclerc is quoted at best odds of 11/1 with William Hill while Pierre Gasly can be backed at a top price of 40/1 with 888Sport and RedZoneSports.

Your winner should come from that list of six names and that theory is backed up by the bookies who then move way out to Romain Grosjean at a best of 750/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.

Other Side Bets

Valtteri Bottas also recorded the fastest lap as he motored to victory down in Melbourne and the Finn will be highly fancied for this market in Bahrain. Bottas is available at best odds of 3/1 with William Hill to be quickest on Sunday while Lewis Hamilton leads the way here at a top price of 5/2 with SportingBet.

Third favourite for Fastest Lap is Sebastian Vettel at a best of 7/2 with SportingBet and then we have Max Verstappen at 7/1 with Betway. Other potential options for this market include Pierre Gasly at best odds of 9/1 with Unibet and Charles Leclerc at a top price of 10/1 with William Hill.

The other market that comes under our radar is Fastest Qualifier and this is another bet that is dominated by the usual suspects. Lewis Hamilton starts it off again at best odds of 7/5 with SportingBet and he’s followed by Valtteri Bottas at 3/1 with William Hill.

Other options for the fastest qualifier bet for Bahrain include Sebastian Vettel at best odds of 10/3 with William Hill, Max Verstappen at a top price of 10/1 with SportingBet and Charles Leclerc at a best of 11/1 with William Hill.

Those are our main markets for Sunday so let’s now see if we can pick out some winners.

Verdict

The 2018 edition of the Bahrain Grand Prix was won by Sebastian Vettel after the German had finished on pole. The fastest lap was recorded by Valtteri Bottas who came home in second place while Lewis Hamilton completed the podium places.

In terms of overall success, Vettel is the man to watch here as he is the record holder with four victories. Hamilton has two wins in 2015 and 2016.

Early season staking is always tough but it seems that while Vettel has that good record here and has been a fast starter in recent campaigns, that looks set to change. The domination of Mercedes in Australia was ominous and we’re looking for that pattern to continue this week.

The German manufacturer looks to have the Constructors’ Championship sewn up but the Drivers’ version could be more open. In fact, we could even see Bottas come through in the way that Nico Rosberg did a couple of seasons back.

That’s for the future: For now, we expect Hamilton to win in Bahrain but the better value may lie in the two side bets - Hamilton to qualify fastest and Bottas to go round quickest.

Best Bets for 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix:

  • Lewis Hamilton to be Fastest Qualifier at 7/5 with SportingBet
  • Valtteri Bottas to record the Fastest Lap at 3/1 with William Hill

About Bahrain GP

History

The Bahrain Grand Prix is one of the newest races on the circuit having first come on to the calendar in 2004. With Formula One reaching into new parts of the globe, Bahrain became the newest member of the family some 15 years ago and this has become almost a permanent feature ever since.

The one exception to an unbroken run came in 2011 when protests against the government led to a cancellation. Bahrain returned to the schedule in 2012 and has been with us ever since.

That very first race was won by the great Michael Schumacher who, perhaps surprisingly, failed to add to that success in five more years on the track.

The Bahrain Grand Prix currently appears very early on in the calendar and is the second race of the season, following the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix.

Winners

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

The 2019 edition of the Bahrain Grand Prix is the 15th running of the race but in a short space of time, one man has dominated. Sebastian Vettel won his first Bahrain GP back in 2012 and he leads the list of multiple winners with four chequered flags.

Next on the list is Fernando Alonso who was very much the man to beat in the early days of this race. The Spanish driver won in 2005 and 2006 in the Renault and he added his third victory after switching to Ferrari in 2010.

Meanwhile, there have been two wins apiece for Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa while the overall list is completed by Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button.

In terms of manufacturers, Ferrari have the upper hand here and the input of Schumacher, Vettel and Massa has helped them to six victories in Bahrain. Mercedes won for three straight years between 2014 and 2016 thanks to Hamilton and Rosberg while Red Bull and Renault complete this section with two wins apiece.

Fastest Lap

It’s perfectly possible that the record for Fastest Lap will be broken in the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix but what is the mark that drivers need to beat? Surprisingly, in an age when cars are getting faster every season, the current record has stood for over ten years.

Back in 2005, Pedro de la Rosa went round the current GP circuit in Bahrain in 1.31.447. De la Rosa achieved this mark in the McLaren and it’s one of the oldest standing records in F1.

Interesting Facts

Due to strict alcohol laws in Bahrain, winning drivers do not, traditionally, spray champagne over each other at the end of the race. Bottles are still provided but the liquid inside is a non-alcoholic rosewater drink.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is a history maker and is the site for the first ever F1 race to be held in the Middle East.

After that debut in 2004, Bahrain was given an award for Best Organised Grand Prix by the FIA.

The circuit in Bahrain can hold up to 45,000 spectators and 10,500 of these can be seated in the main grandstand on the home straight. Among the interesting architecture here is an outstanding, eight story VIP tower.

The organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix state that over 4,700 staff work here across the Grand Prix weekend. This figure includes marshalls, security and doctors.

Perhaps the unluckiest driver in the history of the Bahrain Grand Prix is Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn has appeared on the podium eight times but so far, has never won the race.

In terms of unlucky manufacturers, McLaren may have that fastest lap record but they have yet to win the Bahrain Grand Prix. With Mercedes and McLaren currently dominating, they may have to wait a little while longer.

Sebastian Vettel may be the most successful driver in the history of the Bahrain GP but the German recorded the only DNS of his career back in 2016. The engine of Vettel’s Ferrari gave up on the formation lap.

Design

bahrain grand prix

Bahrain Grand Prix Circuit

Ask any F1 fan about the design of the Sakhir Grand Prix circuit in Bahrain and they will point to what is perceived to be a key flaw. The track features run off areas that are much bigger than most other circuits and as such, they may fail to punish drivers who cannot stay on the track.

German architect and racing driver Hermann Tilke designed the course and he was also responsible for the Sepang venue in Malaysia. After amendments to the existing circuit were carried out in 2005, the current course now has 15 turns and it cost around $150 million to construct.

The Sakhir Grand Prix circuit is located in the middle of a desert and in the early days, there were concerns over sand blowing onto the tracks. There have been sandstorms here in the past, more notably on testing and practise days but thanks to a special adhesive, it doesn’t stick to the track surface.

The Future

The contract details in regard to Bahrain’s future in F1 are a little hard to track down but we do know that its immediate future is secure. The race will definitely be on a new calendar in 2020 and is likely to be with us for a long time yet.

Rumours of a huge, 15 year contract from 2016 were denied but it’s clear that the FIA are happy to be in this part of the world and Bahrain is close to being a permanent Grand Prix fixture.