There is a quick turnaround in the F1 calendar this week, as the drivers move from China to Bahrain without a break. This is the first time we have done this so far so it will be interesting to watch out for any stories developing of teams struggling with this.
It is also the first night race of the season and without a doubt, my favourite Grand Prix of the season. The scene is always set on a night race for something spectacular to happen and this year is no different, I’m expecting fireworks.
Last week in China, Lewis Hamilton duly obliged for us to give us our first winner of the season. Our second bet, Esteban Ocon to finish in the points also came in as the Frenchman finished 10th to pick up points for the second week running.
Hamilton did as expected in China last weekend he bagged pole position thanks to having clearly the best qualifying car and on a circuit where it pays to be in front, he drove brilliantly to win the race. Max Verstappen deserves a lot of credit for the way he drove last weekend, moving from 16th up to 9th during the first lap, after starting 19th on the grid.
Those first laps are always tight so to get by seven people on a tough circuit deserves a ton of praise. He eventually finished third and showed all his driving technique, despite the Red Bull not yet being up to speed. I feared the worst when Esteban Ocon started from 20th on the grid but he too deserves praise for making his way up to 10th.
It is those two drivers, Verstappen and Ocon than my bets are focused around this weekend.
I am not yet ready to back a Red Bull car to win a race until I see some big improvements. However, in a race likely to be packed with incident and drama, requiring top-level driving ability, I think Max Verstappen is a great bet to finish on the podium this weekend.
He is 5th or 6th favourite with the bookmakers and provides drama in a race that is bound to be complex. If he can call on the same driving ability that he did last week then he should again be fantastic to watch, with the night time setting in the background.
The race to win the Grand Prix looks likely to be between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for the third week running but they both offer little value. With action expected, it only takes a poor pit stop or a minor incident to ruin their chances. Their teammates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen need to show a bit more in races before I start considering them as potential winners of a grand Prix.
Esteban Ocon is my other driver this weekend and again I think he is a very fair price to pick up some more points by finishing in the top ten. He has started the season well picking up points in both of his races so far and certainly looks one to keep an eye on going forward. He showed great skill to move from 20th to 10th last weekend and he can hopefully leave himself a little less to do this weekend by qualifying better.
With little value at the head of the betting, I’ve decided to look a little further down this weekend. Max Verstappen looks to be a good bet to finish on the podium at a very fair price, while Esteban Ocon continues to impress and while ever he does, I’ll be backing him.