Grand Prix 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

So its thats time again, the offseason is almost over as this time next week, we will be a few hours from Bahrain qualifying where all the guessing stops & we know the pecking order. although we have had some rescheduling before we had even started because Australia has been moved to the end of the season instead of the start & test got moved 2 weeks later. but i believe this years season opener unlike 2020 will go ahead as scheduled, not have a dramatic press conference 3 hours before FP1 was due to take place & austria will go back to being 9th round not the season opener

but hopefully we have got a great season to look forward to firstly we have the longest F1 season in its history, 23 races which is massive. jackie stewart on winning world championship in 1969 & 1971 were collectively only 22 races. shows how far F1 has expanded. in those 23 race we will be going to imola & portimao getting a 2nd chance after stepping in so well during the pandemic last season. finally get to have our 1st look at zandvoort albeit 16 months later than we thought, but vietnam is the casualty of the pandemic, because that has been binned & weirdly the only evidence of the it will be in F1 2020 video game & go to saudi arabia for the 1st new race not designed by herman tilke since 1995 argentine GP . also after an enforced sabbatical in 2020 we will finally get back to Monaco, Baku, Canada, unfortunately france, Singapore, Japan, USA, Brazil, Mexico & Australia in 2021

maybe just maybe. we could have our 1st interteam title battle since 2012, which is ridiclous to think that F1 has gone 9yrs, you cant imagine hypothetically going into jerez 1997. as the 1st title battle since prost senna 1989. it seems massive gap but that what we have currently have & as great as lewis hamilton as been, just like Schumacher or Vettel domination its not great for the sport as a whole. but maybe we have got season long fight between red bull & mercedes, likely the young pretender v the old expert. that we have been hoping for ever since max won the spanish gp in 2016. (but young pretender might be stretching it as Max would be 6 weeks older than vettel was next sunday, when he won his 1st world title in 2010 & in abu dhabi if he won, would be only 3 weeks younger than alonso in 2005) but besides that we have best teammate to verstappen on paper since riccardio & Bottas who if he could string a season together instead of just individual races could have a chance.

down the rest of the grid it doesnt look like there is much change , mclaren still look the best of the rest, Alpha Tauri could have jumped ahead of ferrari looking very good with great pairing of gasly & tsunoda who is highly rated, Aston Martin mayve dropped abit after struggle in testing. Williams look like they are on the way back & Haas the signs dont look good as they had stop developing the 2021 car before testing. as nice as it is to have a schumacher back on the grid, so could be a hard year for Mick Schumacher but it didnt do George Russell any harm. could help him to make his mistakes & learn out of the limelight. which if he was in the midfield with that surname could do more harm than good

on Bahrain, well we all hope that it wont be as eventful as our last trips to circuit 4 months with grosjean accident then heartbreaking bad luck from russell after stunning debut drive then perez rollercoaster ride from retiring from 3rd on the penultimate lap to 7 days later getting taken out then getting back to the pits coming through the field to win his maiden victory & that all 20 drivers are safe come the end of the race. the trends bode well because 7 of the 9 winners since 2012 have won the world title after winning in Sakhir & also bar 2008 (crash & 13th) & 2010 (4th). world champion has stood on every sakhir podium. but in aload of pre season uncertainity, i guarantee 1 thing 2021 season opener cant be any worse than 2010 the last time Bahrain started the season. it was such a dull affair that there was talk about a mandatory 2 stop to bring some entertainment:sleeping::sleeping:

but welcome to 2021, hope that you enjoy another year of F1 & the last before the biggest overhaul of F1 regulations since 1998
There’s lots of things I’ve been taking away from FP1:
  1. Look at the gap between Sainz and Leclerc. I think this shows just how weak Vettel was last year (and how good both Sainz and Norris are).
  2. The gap between Vettel and Stroll is interesting...
  3. Alonso is just seat-blocking this year
  4. Sadly, Williams and Haas are looking to be propping up the field for the duration of this year!
Well a few more hours and all will be revealed. The sandbaggers will blow everyone out of the water, the blaggers shown up for what they are.
Should be fun.
Sky's qualifying prediction calculation based on a variety of factors has it as;

1) Verstappen
2) Hamilton
3) Gasly

It would seem Alpha Tauri are doing what I like to call a "Toyota" which is showing a huge amount of early season promise before fading like a budget pair of jeans after 3 or 4 weekends.
there is something about that mclaren, that i really like, i still have doubts over the alpha tauri i just dont see them as the 3rd best car at moment
The temperatures during FP1 & FP3 were very unrepresentative of what we'll see in qualifying and the race, so I'm using FP2 as my guide (even if they're not so different).

It looks close between Verstappen and Hamilton with Bottas and Perez well behind, as expected, and at risk from McLaren and Ferrari and, maybe, the AlphaTauris. Not sure that the Aston Martins will make Q3. Alpine (long i sound, free not fry) have yet to show any pace - which doesn't mean they don't have any - but would make sense given Honda have made a big step by their own admission, and Ferrari ought to be making bigger steps to regain their competitiveness, leaving Renault struggling relatively (as per usual; why Ricciardo ever believed Cyril Abiteboul's nonsense god only knows)
bottas is going to be interesting because if this pans out like all signs say. he going to have improve. because he struggled most years to beat red bull. despite having superior machinery & now that gap appears to have leveled out. it could be a brutal year for him
It's going to be difficult... Are the drivers who were at the end of their laps going to be penalised? I don't think that they hit the yellow flag zone, but would have had to get out of it close after...

I suspect that Alonso back will be the cars in difficulty.
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