We are only a few hours away from the start of the 2019 Bahrain GP.
Round Two of the season is slated to be one epic battle. After all, by going fastest of all 20 drivers on the grid, Charles Leclerc of Ferrari has become the Scuderia’s youngest pole-sitter.
In fact, here’s what one may not have noted surrounding the fanfare- and hey, that’s so well deserved by the Frenchman- that Sebastian Vettel will once again form the front row at the 2019 Bahrain GP.
This is nothing new really for Sebastian Vettel, who happens to be a four-time winner at Sakhir, the home of the Bahrain GP.
While it does feel that it might get tough for the German to win for the fifth time, it cannot be undermined or ruled out that Sebastian Vettel stands an excellent chance to end up on the podium again. And who knows on the top spot?
Not that he would mind that one bit. Sakhir’s been one of Vettel’s favourite hunting grounds. No other driver since the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix has won more here than the four-time world champion from Germany.
But starting from second on the grid, Vettel would be keen to make most of his opportunity to rule at Sakhir.
Here’s how. And there’s no rocket science attached to this, really.
While second is not really a bad position to start on the grid, Vettel, who failed to enter the 1.27’s on the final qualifying run, would be wary of the fact that his teammate is entering the first Grand Prix at Sakhir in red.
Moreover, this is Leclerc’s second ever race start at the Sakhir. On the other hand, Vettel, purely by virtue of experience entered his first ever race in the desert was back in 2008.
While this doesn’t mean that Vettel’s task is any easier, being sandwiched by the fastest man on the grid, as seen on Saturday, who’s at the front, and being pursued by Hamilton, P3, isn’t going to get any easier.
This is where, the experienced German will have to keep his cool and be mindful of the opportunities he still can make a good use of.
For starters, over the course of the past decade, Vettel’s been Ferrari’s most successful driver in the Sakhir desert.
Now while, the talented Charles Leclerc does have the pole, and a remarkable time at that in the form of 1:27:866, he’d be mindful of the fact that it’s Vettel who’s just stacked in the rear of the Ferrari with 16 on it.
Even as theoretically, the momentum rests with the driver right at the front, Sebastian Vettel will have the best possible opportunity to make an attacking move. So can he?
But this will immediately make his task even more vital within a split-second from the five red lights going green.
So that told, is Sebastian Vettel ready for the challenge at Sakhir?
Where 2018’s race results stand, Vettel, it wasn’t hard to note, made a ruckus of his race starts. We saw that inside the opening lap at Monza. We saw that in the US Grand Prix, interestingly, Kimi making most on both occasions, despite not seeming absolutely certain to win.
It wasn’t too difficult to note therefore as to what might have fundamentally contributed to Lewis winning the 2018 world title. Didn’t the Briton keep his cool under duress? Wasn’t an excellent example of it seen at Hockenheimring, where the Briton also demonstrated better car handling and focus under rain.
That said, this, Sebastian Vettel, must remember is a new season and a new opportunity. Sakhir’s seen the best from him. On race day, he will know his challenge is to keep composure at a track that’s truly come alive in seeing the magnificent sight of the Ferrari’s sparkle. Time to deliver now, Seb!