After the eye-catching 2018 F1 opener in Australia, there are talking points aplenty both on and off the track heading to Bahrain for the second round. 

With Mercedes already eager to strike back after losing out to a software “bug” in Australia which handed victory to Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, Haas will also be looking for redemption after throwing away a potential double top five result due to pit stop blunders.

With the Bahrain International Circuit more power-hungry compared to Albert Park, a predicted fightback from the Mercedes-powered cars is also expected this weekend from the likes of Force India having suffered its first point-less round in Australia since Monaco last year.

Elsewhere, key plans are expected to be revealed by F1 owners Liberty Media in Bahrain as it presents its vision beyond 2020.

Five things to look out for at Albert Park

Can the Prancing Horse continue to gallop?

Sebastian Vettel’s victory at the 2018 F1 curtain-raiser might have come as a small shock given Mercedes' pace but whether it was a slice of luck or expert strategy Ferrari repeated its feat from 12 months ago to take the early title race lead.

Last year Ferrari and Mercedes traded race wins over the opening four rounds – while no driver secured back-to-back wins until Lewis Hamilton’s treble between Belgium, Italy and Singapore – but Vettel was victorious in Bahrain last year when the Middle Eastern nation hosted the third round.

With Bahrain more representative to the majority of circuits on the F1 calendar it will be a true clue to who will come out on top in 2018.

Action replay

After the Australian Grand Prix came in for a barrage of abuse for the lack of overtaking, in theory Bahrain can provide the perfect antidote with its wide track, long straights and heavy braking zones.

But if the issue remains a paramount problem it could trigger tougher questions being asked of F1 especially with the expected performance convergence between teams under stable regulations. Could 21 F1 processions spark rule makers into action to spice up racing?

McLaren’s momentum

Good luck and good performance handed McLaren an ideal and much-needed start to its new Renault partnership with a double points finish to head up the midfield chargers.

Bigger tests are expected in Bahrain with more of its midfield rivals getting up to speed plus the predicted fightback from Haas, Force India and potentially Williams.

Return of the Haas

In a race that promised so much for Haas the Australian Grand Prix turned into a nightmare for the US team with its double pit stop blunder.

Haas have already penned in extra pit stop practice in Bahrain while procedural adjustments will be needed to resolve its issues. But in theory if the youngest F1 team can produce a repeat in the opening three-quarters of the Australian round it could set-up the perfect response for Haas.

2020 vision

F1 commercial rights holders Liberty Media are set to reveal more of its post-2020 plan for the sport ranging from promotional pointers to the key engine and chassis regulations.

If last year’s reaction is anything to go by, when Ferrari issued an F1 quit threat, it could be more than fireworks which light up the night sky in Bahrain this weekend.

Where can I watch it? (All times stated BST)

The 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix is being shown LIVE on Sky Sports F1 and Channel 4 (UK only).

Friday 6th April:

LIVE Sky Sports F1 Bahrain GP FP1 – 11:45

LIVE Channel 4 F1 Bahrain GP FP1 – 11:55

LIVE Sky Sports F1 Bahrain GP FP2 – 15:45

LIVE More 4 F1 Bahrain GP FP2 – 15:55

Saturday 7th April:

LIVE Sky Sports F1 Bahrain GP FP3 – 12:45

LIVE Channel 4 F1 Bahrain GP FP3 – 13:00

LIVE Channel 4 F1 Bahrain GP Qualifying – 14:55

LIVE Sky Sports F1 Bahrain GP Qualifying – 15:00

Sunday 8th April:

LIVE Sky Sports F1 Bahrain GP Track Parade – 14:30

LIVE Sky Sports F1 Bahrain GP Race – 15:00

LIVE Channel 4 F1 Bahrain GP Build Up – 15:00

LIVE Channel 4 F1 Bahrain GP Race – 15:45

WHERE CAN I WATCH F1 IN 2018?

ALL F1 races, qualifying and practice sessions will be shown LIVE on Sky Sports F1 in the UK, with Channel 4 dual-broadcasting a selection of races LIVE on terrestrial television.

25 March Australian Grand Prix

8 April Bahrain Grand Prix

15 April Chinese Grand Prix

29 April Azerbaijan Grand Prix

13 May Spanish Grand Prix

27 May Monaco Grand Prix

10 June Canadian Grand Prix

24 June French Grand Prix

1 July Austrian Grand Prix

8 July British Grand Prix

22 July German Grand Prix

29 July Hungarian Grand Prix

26 August Belgian Grand Prix 

2 September Italian Grand Prix

16 September Singapore Grand Prix

30 September Russian Grand Prix 

7 October Japanese Grand Prix

21 October United States Grand Prix

28 October Mexican Grand Prix

11 November Brazilian Grand Prix

25 November Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Recent Bahrain GP race winners:

2017: Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

2016: Nico Rosberg Mercedes

2015: Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

2014: Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

2013: Sebastian Vettel Red Bull

 

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