In Depth

F1 Bahrain GP: third practice, qualifying, race start time, predictions, TV guide, odds

Ferrari fastest as Vettel and Leclerc set the pace in Friday’s practice

2019 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix

Ferrari enjoyed a strong opening day at the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix after finishing first and second in both free practice (FP) sessions on Friday.

In FP1 Charles Leclerc led the way ahead of Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel while Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were third and fourth respectively.

Later on Friday the roles were reversed for Ferarri’s one-two as Vettel finished top of FP2 ahead of Leclerc. World champion Hamilton was third, Bottas was fourth and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg impressed with a top-five finish in second practice.

After missing the podium in the opening grand prix of the season in Australia, Sky Sports reports that Ferrari “glittered under the lights” on Friday in Bahrain.

Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft said: “That is the sort of a margin people thought we would be seeing in Australia. We’ll wait to see whether that’s the margin in qualifying. But if you’re Ferrari, this is how you’d have wanted the day to go.”

Ferrari will hope to carry on their form on Saturday at the Bahrain International Circuit. Saturday’s third practice session is at 12pm and qualifying is at 3pm. Sunday’s F1 Bahrain Grand Prix starts at 4.10pm (all times UK).

Wolff: battle has only just begun

Despite Ferrari’s slow start to the season in Australia Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff expects the Italians to bounce back this weekend.

Wolff said earlier this week: “The fight has only just begun: Ferrari will try everything they can to hit back and Melbourne showed that Red Bull will have something to say in the fight, too.

“We’ve seen the potential of Ferrari’s package in Barcelona, so we expect them to come back strong in Bahrain, with Red Bull in the mix as well. We will see a very different race in Bahrain, where the weekend presents unique challenges, especially the change in conditions between the sessions.

“We’ve had some great racing in recent years in Bahrain, so I’m looking forward to an exciting weekend.”

F1 Bahrain GP race guide

  • Circuit: Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir 
  • First grand prix: 2004 
  • Number of laps: 57 
  • Circuit length: 5.412km 
  • Race distance: 308.238km 
  • Lap record: 1:31.447 by Pedro de la Rosa (2005) 
  • 2018 podium: 1st Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari); 2nd Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes); 3rd Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
When are the practice sessions?

There are three full practice (FP) sessions in Bahrain. On Friday 29 March FP1 takes place at 11am and FP2 is at 3pm. FP3 will be at 12pm on Saturday 30 March. All times UK.

When is qualifying?

Qualifying for the F1 Bahrain GP starts at 3pm on Saturday 30 March.

What time does the race start?

The 2019 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix starts at 4.10pm (UK time) on Sunday 31 March.

Bahrain GP TV guide

Sky Sports F1 will show live coverage of practice, qualifying and the GP from Bahrain. Sky’s coverage of qualifying and the race will be simulcast on Sky One. Channel 4 will show highlights of qualifying and the race.

Watch on Now TV

F1 fans can also watch the action live on Now TV. Viewers can subscribe to a Sky Sports F1 season ticket via Now TV for all race weekends in 2019. A one-off payment costs £195 - the equivalent of £5 per week.

Sky Sports coverage of the Bahrain GP Thursday 28 March
  • 3pm: Drivers’ Press Conference featuring Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Lando Norris (McLaren), Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 
  • 5pm: Welcome To The Weekend
Friday 29 March
  • 10.45am: practice one build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event) 
  • 11am: practice one live (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event) 
  • 2.45pm: practice two build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event) 
  • 3pm: practice two live (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
  • 5pm: Bahrain GP: The Story So Far
Saturday 30 March
  • 11.45am: practice three build-up 
  • 12pm: practice three live 
  • 1.10pm: Paddock Walkabout 
  • 2pm: qualifying build-up (simulcast on Sky One) 
  • 3pm: Bahrain GP qualifying live (simulcast on Sky One) 
  • 4.30pm: The F1 Show
Sunday 31 March
  • 2.30pm: Pit Lane live (simulcast on Sky One) 
  • 3.30pm: On The Grid live (simulcast on Sky One) 
  • 4.10pm: F1 Bahrain Grand Prix live (simulcast on Sky One) 
  • 6pm: Bahrain GP Paddock live (simulcast on Sky One) 
  • 7pm: Bahrain GP race replay
Channel 4 coverage of the Bahrain GP
  • Saturday 30 March: qualifying highlights (7pm to 8.30pm) 
  • Sunday 31 March: Bahrain GP race highlights (9pm to 11pm)

Bahrain GP predictions and betting odds

Anish Vishwakoti, SportsKeeda - Max Verstappen to win: “Leaving Renault in the dust, Verstappen has embraced Honda in this new era and with a fresh and free attitude, we see Verstappen outlasting the Ferraris, Mercedes and his teammate Pierre Gasly to get Red Bull’s first win of the year in the desert circuit of Bahrain.”

Joe Krishnan, London Evening Standard - Lewis Hamilton to win: “Mercedes will be brimming with confidence after storming to victory in the season opener and Hamilton will be keen to show his ability after Bottas’ electric performance Down Under. The 34-year-old Brit has won here twice before and providing he gets a clean race, he is always the one to beat.”

The Daily Telegraph - Valtteri Bottas to win: “Bottas is in form and perhaps should have won in Bahrain in 2018. On the up, we are predicting a second Bottas win of the year, followed closely behind by his team-mate. Vettel to take the final spot on the podium and some first points for Lando Norris and McLaren. Podium prediction: 1st Bottas, 2nd Hamilton, 3rd Vettel.”

Betting odds to win the Bahrain GP

All prices according to Oddschecker (as of 29 March).

  • Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 15/8 
  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 5/2
  • Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): 9/2
  • Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes): 5/1 
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 16/1 
  • Pierre Gasly (Red Bull): 66/1

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