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F1 2022 – Bahrain Grand Prix preview

F1 is back! Stephen Clibbon looks ahead to the opening race of the F1 2022 season - the Bahrain Grand Prix - and shares his top tips for the weekend.

Stephen Clibbon

It’s race week! It feels good to say that again after the wait for racing action since the drama of Abu Dhabi.

For the opening race of what is currently a 22-race season we are in Bahrain, with last season’s opener leading us to a close battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen…

Who knew that was just the opening for a season long duel between the two drivers?

Here’s what you need to know about the Bahrain GP.

The Bahrain GP takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir and will be under the lights for our first night race of the season.

The track that will be used this weekend is 5.412km and the race will take place over 57 laps.

The circuit has three DRS zones to help increase the chances of overtaking although all race fans will be hoping we will see closer racing all season with the new regulations in place.

With this being the opening race of the 2022 F1 season, there will be more eyes than usual on free practice.

There will be two practice session that take place on Friday and one on Saturday before qualifying later in the afternoon. The reason free practice will be watched closer than normal is this will be when we really start to see what performance each of the team have in their cars this season.

Until now, testing teams will have been hiding what they fully have to show to not give their full hand away.

As soon as qualifying begins, everyone will be showing all they have to offer as they look to take the first pole of the season.

Verstappen took pole last year by almost four tenths of a second, but this year I really think pole will be open for the taking.

With these new cars it will be down to who has a better understanding and feel for how the car works for them and putting it all together when it matters.

My tip for pole position before free practice would have to be Charles Leclerc at 5.5, due to how in tune with the car the Ferrari boys have been so far.

I do have a feeling this could be a fairly tight qualifying though, we saw it a lot during last season that pole was decided by very tight margins and the Qualifying Winning Margin has some good value in it if you can predict the gap right.

Sunday will see the excitement build even more as we will head into the main event of the weekend.

No matter where drivers have qualified, they will all be looking to gain maximum points possible. In my eyes a banker for the race is for a safety car to be deployed at 1.3 due to the lack of reliability and understanding of the cars from some teams.

This leads me to also think that at odds of 2.20 for the numbers of classified drivers to be under 15.5 is a strong possibility.

On the racing action itself, this race could be anyone’s for the taking and I believe we could see a number of drivers in with a chance of taking the first race win of the season; this is all unless one team’s full car potential blows away the rest of the field and there is always the possibility Mercedes have that hidden up their sleeve.

Due to this George Russell at 10.0 to win the Bahrain Grand Prix each way could be worth a look, if they really do still have a lot of performance hidden away it could very easily be a one-two for the Silver Arrows to kick things off.

Where there could be some sneaky big value could be in the fastest lap of the race, I’ve had it clear recently that I do believe Haas have some pace about them over one single lap, but I’m not sure if they will be able to put it together for the longer stints in the race.

With Schumacher and Magnussen at odds of 151.0 and 126.0 respectively, this could be a good bet if they were to pit late for some fresh faster tyres.

The only thing that is clear heading into this weekend is that the excitement ahead of this season is really building and we are all hoping that we can have a season to match last year.

Main betting tip summary.

  • Qualifying Winning Margin – Between 0.1 & 0.25 Seconds – 3.25 – 2pts
  • Safety car to be deployed – Yes – 1.3 – 3 pts
  • Fastest Lap – Kevin Magnussen – 126.0 – 1 pts

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