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F1 2015: Bahrain GP Preview – Hamilton vs Rosberg In Bahrain

It was just about a month ago that the agonising wait for the start of the 2015 season was all but over as the Australian grand prix loomed large within touching distance of starved Formula 1 fans.

As the Bahrain grand prix approaches, a mere seven days after the third round in China, Lewis Hamilton is firmly in the lead of the driver’s championship and Mercedes still have the quickest car on the grid.

But there is much that is different about the 2015 season. The narrative has changed slightly and now includes Ferrari’s captivating turnaround. Even though the SF15-T isn’t on par with Silver Arrows it has given Mercedes something to ponder. Sebastian Vettel’s debut with the team he idolised as a youngster has gone better than he likely could have dreamed. Three podiums, including a stunning victory, have proven that 2015 may not be all about misters Hamilton and Rosberg.

It is going to take some time however for Ferrari to be genuine threat to Mercedes in all conditions, on all circuits. Kimi Raikkonen concedes that Bahrain will likely produce the same result as China but the Finn is sure that Ferrari will catch up to Mercedes. “I think we have good plans already since last year and made big gains and will make big gains during this year,” says Raikkonen. “Everybody improves and it depends what the rest are doing but we trust the way our team is working altogether and what we are doing.”(sic)

Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix Broadcast timesNotwithstanding the fact that Bahrain will host the first night race of the season temperatures are still expected to be appreciably higher than in China. Pirelli have brought the medium and soft compound tyre to this circuit at which the management of rear tyre degradation will be vital. The first sessions may not be indicative of true tyre performance at the circuit characteristics continue to change throughout the weekend. “A defining characteristic of Bahrain now is that tyre performance changes over the course of the weekend as we slowly edge towards afternoon sessions,” predicts Pirelli motorsport director, Paul Hembery.

Twelve months ago the Sakhir International circuit was the one and only site of a true wheel-to-wheel battle between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. It was the eventual champion, Hamilton, who got the better of his teammate in the spicy fight for supremacy in this race and the ensuing season.

Nico RosbergIt’s safe to assume that, before the season started, Rosberg would have predicted himself to be ahead of Hamilton or, at least, a very close second. On the face of it this battle appears much the same as in 2014. However, the tone of this inter-team battle is quite different and decidedly tilted to Hamilton’s advantage.

Not only has Rosberg not been able to match his reigning champion teammate he appears to have lost significant ground. It wasn’t long ago that Rosberg vowed to give Hamilton the fight of his life in 2015 but the German is yet to deliver on his boisterous declaration. Significantly, it also appears that Rosberg is losing the psychological battle and quite early on at that. The moaning about his teammate in Chinese Gp was not indicative of a driver with the mental toughness to beat his highly talented teammate.

Bahrain has been a good hunting ground for Nico Rosberg and if he is indeed serious about  winning the world championship then he has to transform all of the talk into action.

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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