We’re one race into the Formula 1 season and Lewis Hamilton is playing catch-up, but the Mercedes driver will be confident about his chances at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton chased home his big title rival Sebastian Vettel in Australia a fortnight ago, something he was not happy about and went as far as to say he was effectively robbed of victory.
“It was disbelief from that moment until the end of the race,” said Hamilton, per Sporting Life. “I did everything I believed I was supposed to do.”
“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. It is a team effort but when you are relying on computers, on data, and on so much technology for the right strategy, I wish it was more in my own hands.”
Hamilton’s frustration stemmed from his team’s miscalculation around a pit stop strategy behind the virtual safety car. The defending champion sent his Mercedes in pursuit of Vettel’s Ferrari, but could only claim second on the day.
The Australian Grand Prix suggested Mercedes still had a performance edge over the rest of the pack; this week’s race in Bahrain is where we will truly find out.
Ferrari were strong in Bahrain 12 months ago, with Vettel taking the chequered flag. The German is second favourite with the market makers to go back-to-back, as he is priced at 4.00 by 188BET behind market leader Hamilton.
Previous form is relevant, and the Ferrari is likely to be extremely competitive, but the race will have a new dimension as it will be run under lights for the first time.
For all that Ferrari have fared well in Bahrain, as well as the win last year they took second place in 2015 and 2016, Mercedes dominated with victories in the three renewals prior to 2017.
And you have to believe that there will be no repeat of the safety car miscalculation by the German marque this time round, meaning Hamilton looks an extremely strong bet to get his first win of 2018. He is priced up at 1.80 by 188BET to claim maximum points, and it would be a brave punter to take him on.
Hamilton’s mood over the past couple of weeks will have shifted from brooding and frustrated to determined to make up for what he felt was an unjust result at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne.
He had to play catch-up to Vettel last year and will not want to have to repeat the trick, and on his 100th start for Mercedes he can take the chequered flag for the 63rd time in his career.