From the Far East to the Middle East – F1 heads to Bahrain

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After being beaten by Sebastian Vettel in Australia, Lewis Hamilton got his own back with a supreme display in China to take his first win of the season.  

But who will prevail this weekend in Bahrain?

The duo look set for a season-long battle, and are tied at the top of the standings on 43 points.

Early indications suggest Hamilton’s Mercedes has the pace in qualifying, with Vettel’s Ferrari perhaps the better car over a race distance.

A morning shower of rain ensured we saw a Virtual Safety Car and a full Safety Car in the early stages in Shanghai, and that denied us a proper fight between the two rivals.

But that shouldn’t be the case in Bahrain.

With temperatures set to hit 38c on the island nation this week, Formula One’s new machinery and new tyres will likely face their toughest yet.

As will the drivers, with this season’s quicker cars producing almost 1.5G more than in previous seasons.

But all told, we will hopefully see the best scrap yet between Hamilton and Vettel. In Australia we witnessed a tactical battle, before China’s rain and safety cars put the German on the back foot.

We make Hamilton the 10/11 favourite for victory this Sunday in Sakhir, but Vettel is certainly in the mix at 7/4.

Interestingly neither driver has excelled too often in Bahrain, with the Briton taking just two wins from 10 events, and Vettel the same from nine entries.

That’s twice more than Kimi Raikkonen however, who has never won here.

But the Finn has finished second four times since 2012, and could well have won that year and again in 2014.

The 2007 world champion has matched Vettel’s pace this season, albeit in flashes.

But if he can put it all together – as he often does in the Middle East – he could be a great pick at 9/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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