Bahrain Grand Prix: Preview & Prediction

Lewis Hamilton World Champion

Lewis Hamilton

The 2020 Formula 1 campaign enters its final throes over the next few weeks with two races in Bahrain before the last event in Abu Dhabi.

Bahrain stages the first of its two races on November 29, which will start at twilight on the standard Grand Prix circuit.

Newly-crowned champion Lewis Hamilton is the odds-on favourite to win the race.

Read on as we look the main talking points ahead of the race and make an early assessment of the upcoming 2021 season.

Hamilton Has Unfinished Business

Lewis Hamilton is yet to agree on a new deal with Mercedes, but the situation is likely to be resolved over the coming weeks.

The British star kept Mercedes waiting over contract talks while he concentrated on a securing a record-equalling seventh world title.

Hamilton is eager to move past Michael Schumacher on to eight title victories, and Mercedes offer him the best chance of achieving the feat.

Team principal Toto Wolff is keen to retain Hamilton’s services, and an agreement is expected to be confirmed before the season finale.

Champ Chasing Another Record

Having beaten Schumacher’s record of most F1 wins and equalled his tally of title victories, Hamilton still has other targets in his sights.

He can achieve one of those over the next few weeks, providing he can win the last three races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

Schumacher holds the record for most wins in a single season, with his tally of 13 from 18 races in 2004 currently at the top of the pile.

Hamilton has won 10 events this term, and a further three victories would see him move ahead of the German as his tally would have come from one race fewer.

Verstappen Not Interested in Second

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen heads into the final three rounds of the season with the runners-up spot in the championship still up for grabs.

There are still 78 points available, meaning that the 23-year-old could still bridge the 27-point gap to Valtteri Bottas for second place.

Verstappen has previously insisted that he doesn’t care where he finishes if he fails to win, but his Red Bull team may disagree with that viewpoint.

It has been another frustrating season for Verstappen, and team bosses will be eager to see him finish the campaign with a flourish.

Bottas Must Bounce Back

With his faint championship hopes on the line in Turkey, Bottas was soundly beaten by Hamilton as he qualified in ninth position.

He went on to spin six times during the race, eventually limping home in a hugely disappointing 14th place to allow Verstappen make ground in the championship standings.

The Finnish driver will be under pressure to hang onto second place over the next few weeks as Mercedes strive to cement their dominance of the sport.

Bottas has generally been consistent during the current campaign, and he looks a good bet to secure a podium finish in Bahrain.

Leclerc Frustrations Come to the Fore

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was furious with himself for letting a top-three finish slip in Turkey, and he will be eager to make amends in Bahrain.

The Monegasque drove magnificently to get into contention having dropped to 19th on Lap 7, but an error late in the race saw him lose positions to Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel.

Seeing Vettel overtake him will have been particularly galling for Leclerc having outperformed the German throughout the season.

The result dropped Leclerc to fifth in the standings, and he now has a fight on his hands to move back into the top four before the end of the campaign.

Prickly Vettel Has Plenty to Prove

Vettel was unimpressed after being asked if his podium finish in Turkey showed that he still retained the ability that helped him win four world titles.

Despite his prickly response, the question was undoubtedly fair given that it was the first time he had claimed a top-three finish in 2020.

The German’s talents have appeared to be on the wane, and he has consistently trailed in his teammate’s wake this term.

Vettel has collected just 33 points this season, and it remains to be seen whether his upcoming move to Aston Martin will spark a revival in his fortunes.

Bahrain GP Prediction: It is impossible to back against Hamilton claiming his 11th victory of the season at the end of November.

The British star still has plenty of other targets to achieve, and he is strongly fancied to continue his dominance of the sport in 2021.

For punters searching for a value bet in Bahrain, Perez looks well worth an interest at odds of 7/2 to claim a top-three finish.