Bahrain Grand Prix: What time does the race start, what TV channel is it on and can Lewis Hamilton keep Sebastian Vettel at bay?

Telegraph Sport
The Mercedes are likely to be given a closer run down to turn one by the Ferraris in 2017 - Reuters

What is it?

It's the third round of the 2017 Formula One World Championship, the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir International Circuit.

When is it?

It's this weekend; specifically Friday, April 14 through Sunday, April 16.

What time does the race start?

The scheduled race start time is 4:00pm BST on Sunday – strange for a race in Asia, but that's due it being one of F1's night races.

What TV channel is it on?

It's the first free-to-air live race broadcast of the 2017 season, with Channel 4 showing the Bahrain GP in addition to Sky Sports.

What are the other session times?

The timetable for the Grand Prix weekend is as follows:

  • Practice 1 — Friday, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
  • Practice 2 — Friday, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
  • Practice 3 — Saturday, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
  • Qualifying — Saturday, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Carlos Sainz in his Toro Rosso during practice for the 2016 Bahrain GP Credit: Clive Mason/Getty 

What does the drivers' championship table look like?

  1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) — 43pts
  2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) — 43pts
  3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) — 25pts
  4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) — 23pts
  5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) — 22pts
  6. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) — 12pts

What do we know about the Sakhir International Circuit?

Sakhir now hosts one of Formula One's night races, the other being at Singapore, but has struggled to establish itself in the hearts of Formula One drivers and fans alike.

Lewis Hamilton at the 2015 edition of the Bahrain Grand Prix Credit: Hoch Zwei/Action Images

As far as layout goes, it's something of a poor relation to the Sepang track in Malaysia – which is sadly disappearing from the calendar itself after 2017. Organisers experimented with a mid-lap extension a few years ago but it's tight turns and significant bumps meant a reversion to the standard circuit a year later.

Expect most overtaking to be done into turn one, with turn four often serving to mop up any afters. 

What are they saying?

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes driver

A third straight pole position for Hamilton could be key against a Ferrari that favours the heat forecast for Bahrain Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty 

Ferrari are going to be very, very strong here. They always have been.

It is going to be hard to keep with them, particularly in hot conditions.

They are always generally the team that is lighter on tyres. We have a heavier car; they have a light, nimble car.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes driver

Valtteri Bottas is out to make up for a costly spin under safety car conditions in China Credit: SAEED KHAN/AFP

It is way too early to say there are only two drivers for the championship.

It's a long season, so I wouldn't say it's just all going to be about Lewis and Sebastian. The season is long and things can change.

Within the team they can definitely see through everything how my performance and how my pace really is. In the end, results are the thing that matters, and I'm very keen to get the proper result as soon as possible because every point I lose now is going to hit by the end of the year.

But I don't feel I'm in a rush with everything. If I keep doing what I'm doing, and that is progress every single day with the team, I feel will be at a very, very good level very soon.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda driver

A new challenge beckons for Fernando Alonso Credit: DIEGO AZUBEL/EPA

Inside the McLaren team, to be racing at the same time in Monte Carlo and Indy 500, it's an amazing thing.

It's good to go to America and showing this respect to IndyCar. If I want to win the triple crown I have to make the first step this year. It's a win-win situation.

On the planes I will try and look at some videos and races from the last years. I'm not ready at the moment, but the next couple of weeks I'm confident I can adapt.

I'm not in my comfort zone driving those cars or thinking of those cars. But I'm not afraid of trying.

What are the betting odds?

A straight fight between Hamilton and Vettel in Bahrain? Or will one of their teammates step up their own challenge? Credit: Action Press/REX/Shutterstock
  • Lewis Hamilton to win: 10/11
  • Sebastian Vettel to win: 19/10
  • Valtteri Bottas to win: 7/1
  • Kimi Raikkonen to win: 9/1
  • Max Verstappen to win: 33/1
  • Daniel Ricciardo to win: 40/1
  • Felipe Massa to win: 500/1
  • Carlos Sainz Jr to win: 750/1
  • Fernando Alonso to win: 1000/1

Our predicted winner?

Much as Hamilton's talking up of Ferrari's chances might be to do with deflection rather than genuine opinion, if Bahrain sees weather as hot as forecast then conditions could well favour the Italian team.

Vettel should take the win – though if Hamilton can take pole and get away in the lead, it won't be a foregone conclusion that Vettel can get past.

Agree? Disagree? Have your say below...

Ranked: Every F1 race in the 2017 championship, from worst to best


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