Bahrain Grand Prix 2017: Predict the podium - Who will come out on top in Sakhir this weekend?

Natasha Henry
Will Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton be hugging after the Bahrain GP? - Rex Features

Formula One is in Bahrain this weekend for its first night race of the season at the hot and dry International Circuit in  Sakhir.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are currently joint leaders in the driver's championship after the German won in Australia and Hamilton won last week's Chinese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen make up the top five after the first two races of the season.

Some of you probably thought I was going crazy last week when I tipped Max Verstappen to win the Chinese Grand Prix but his third place finish showed he is one of the best when it comes to navigating that erratic wet weather. 

The teenager started the race in 16th but by the end of lap 11 he was up to second and you have to wonder if he could have maintained that second spot, and challenged Hamilton who led the race from start to finish, if he had a better car. 

Sadly I don't see him sitting on the podium this week despite a relatively reasonable couple of practice sessions for the Red Bull driver and his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Even though they both posted good times in Friday's practice sessions neither sounds confident for the race and there must be a reason for that. 

This week, in my very humble opinion, the three men on the podium will be three of the most experienced drivers on the circuit. 

Despite his awful first practice session that saw him complete just six laps, Raikkonen was much improved on his second go out.

The Finnish driver has made it onto the podium a record eight times from his 12 races in Bahrain, with Hamilton next with five. 

Fernando Alonso has been the most successful driver at the circuit with three wins, but I think we all agree that his McLaren looks like it would struggle to get up the hill, let alone get him on the podium. 

If the Iceman is up there then it is very likely he will be standing with his team-mate Vettel. Although the Ferrari team had some set-up changes throughout Friday, he was still the fastest man and after a few years of disappointment he looks like he is back to being a serious challenger. 

Kimi Raikkonen will be aiming to get his ninth podium at the Bahrain international Circuit Credit: AP

Despite his confusing performance in the two practice sessions, it is hard to see a podium without Hamilton and his yellow helmet. 

In both previous races he has not been the fastest in practice but he has managed to get himself on pole and ultimately keep himself at the right end of the grid. But both him, Vettel and Raikkonen may just have too much calmness for the rest of the pack. With several commenting on grip throughout practice, it is hard to see past these three.

Last week I got the right drivers, but in the wrong order. We also had readers K. Dunn and A. Galland, who both correctly picked Hamilton for the win. Let's see if they can get it right again this week.

Natasha's Bahrain GP podium prediction:

1. Kimi Raikkonen

2. Sebastian Vettel

3. Lewis Hamilton

Now it's your turn. Who do you think will be on the podium on Sunday afternoon? Leave your predicted top three in the comments section below.

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