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Bahrain to light up for Merc duel

2014-04-02 15:30

MERC IN CHARGE: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (left) is congratulated by team mate and second placed Nico Rosberg at 2014 Malaysian GP. Will Bahrain see another Merc one-two victory? Image: AP

SAKHIR, Bahrain - The spotlights, all 5000 at Bahrain's Sakhir circuit, will be on Mercedes team mates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton on Sunday (April 6).

The pair hold first and second place in 2014 Formula 1championship after a win each in Australia and Malaysia in the new era of "quiet", fuel-saving and less reliable V6 turbo power units.

Neither driver has won at the Sakhir circuit but are clear favourites to fight for the top step on the podium after two raceS in the 2014 season.


The Bahrain Circuit, celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2014. The 2011 race was cancelled due to bloody civil unrest.

Some 500km of cabling has been installed to power the 5000 lights needed for the race.

Rosberg, who will be starting his 150th grand prix, leads the championship by 18 points but Hamilton, chasing his third pole in a row, can score an important psychological blow if he takes his second successive win.

Hamilton said: "I've never managed to get the win (in Bahrain). It was the same story for me with Malaysia, so fingers crossed this can be the year of breaking those cycles."

Two of the three pre-season tests were held in Bahrain and Mercedes will be carrying out a Pirelli tyre test at Sakhir along with Williams and Caterham.


Teams have no shortage of data on the circuit but Bahrain, following on from Malaysia, is the first time in 2014 that they have had to race on successive weekends.

That will be an extra challenge for reliability and teamwork as well as providing the first real insight into the endurance of engines and gearbox.

The long straights should suit the Mercedes well, and the dry conditions will also play to their strengths.

Rosberg said: "It's a great track and I really enjoy driving on it. I've never had much luck on race weekends here, but it's definitely the one I'm best prepared for in 2014."

Red Bull's quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel has won the 2012/13 Bahrain GP's  but he knows a third is a long shot this time.

Vettel said: "We still have a long way (to go), these guys are bloody quick, congratulations to them. They did a good job but we are trying to catch-up."

That was also Vettel's first race distance since Brazil in November 2013.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, a three-times winner in Bahrain, will be seeking to improve on two successive fourth place finishes in 2014, while McLaren's Jenson Button hopes to mark a big personal anniversary with something special.

Button said: "Sunday's race will be my 250th GP start. That's crazy.It feels like only yesterday that I was celebrating my 200th with a win for McLaren in Hungary in 2011."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Bahrain F1 GP weekend.

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