Last year, it was the arguably the race of the Formula 1 season.
The Bahrain Grand Prix battle between Mercedes AMG Petronas teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, with Hamilton ultimately prevailing, went down in the record books as the first joust between the two in the battle for inter-team supremacy.
Hamilton enters Bahrain this week on a hot streak, having scored all three pole positions thus far in 2015 and winning two of the first three races, while beating Rosberg in every qualifying/race session to date.
My MotorSportsTalk colleague Luke Smith wrote a column earlier this week that unless Rosberg’s mental game improves, Hamilton’s already got this year’s World Championship in the bag.
But Hamilton is refusing to get comfortable.
“As always, though, my thoughts have been completely focused on the next race from the moment we left the circuit on Sunday,” Hamilton said in the team’s pre-race release.
“It’s been a great start – but for me last season showed that you can never feel too comfortable and that’s even more the case this time around with Ferrari right there with us.”
Hamilton even noted that Bahrain isn’t one of his better tracks, historically speaking.
“I don’t actually have the best record in Bahrain compared to other circuits,” he said. “Last year was my first win here and it was definitely one I’ll remember after a great fight with Nico. That’s what I love about racing and it’s a special feeling to come out on top in a battle like that.”
Rosberg must respond this weekend on track, and seems focused on doing so from his pre-race comments.
“The team has made a great start to the season and, with this incredible car they have built, I know I just need to find a little bit more in myself to get back to the top step,” Rosberg said.
“If we can do that but with the two top steps in a different order it would be fantastic! It won’t be so easy with the competition breathing down our necks.
“But that makes for even more exciting racing, so I’m looking forward to a great battle and I’m determined to come out on top.”