MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Bahrain GP

1 Comment

Lewis Hamilton may have dominated proceedings at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend, but the real talking point coming out of Shanghai was the renewal of the tension between the Briton and his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg – “renewal” being the right word if you believe it ever really went away.

Rosberg’s accusations following the race fell largely on deaf ears, but did provide a fascinating insight into the German’s bid for this year’s world championship. With nine defeats in the last ten races to Hamilton, a change is needed soon.

Ferrari also once again proved that it won’t roll over in the face of Mercedes dominance in 2015, and with a warmer race on the cards in Bahrain, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen could prove to be serious threats this weekend.

As usual, we’ve made our picks for the coming weekend, so take a look and let us know your predictions in the comments section below.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. Ferrari will be a genuine threat to Mercedes once again in Bahrain, but I still cannot see past a victory for Lewis Hamilton. The defending champion is in the form of his life and well on the way to a third world title. Expect his good form to continue in Bahrain this weekend.

Surprising FinishKimi Raikkonen. The Finn has had something of a rotten deal so far in 2015, being hampered in Australia and Malaysia by incidents that he was blameless for. In China, he proved that he can compete with Vettel, and I’m tipping him for a podium finish on Sunday alongside his teammate.

Most to ProvePastor Maldonado. Contrary to what most may say, Pastor Maldonado is a quick and competitive racer – he just needs to keep the car on track. His efforts in China were hindered by a brake problem, but he now needs to prove in Bahrain that Lotus truly is the fourth-quickest team by scoring his first points of the season.

Additional Storyline to WatchThe podium ceremony. It’s the biggest non-story ever: Lewis Hamilton sprayed a girl with champagne; cue worldwide outrage. She didn’t care, nor do those who actually follow racing or know the context. There’s no champagne on the podium this weekend, but rose water instead. Will Lewis be more careful this time around? Who knows. And who cares?

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
3. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. At the track where he delivered a mental and physical blow to Nico Rosberg with his pass for the win last year, I see no reason why he won’t continue his domination this time around.

Surprising FinishValtteri Bottas. The Ferraris have been clear second best to the Mercedes since the season started but I like the Williams-Mercedes to upend that trend this week. Few would have pegged a Sergio Perez podium this race last year, and a Bottas podium pick this year isn’t nearly as off the reservation – if it would still be a surprise to beat the Ferraris.

Most to ProveNico Rosberg. Less talk. More walk. If you want to beat Lewis, then actually go and do it on track…

Additional Storyline to WatchMcLaren’s continued improvement. Within 2 seconds in Q1 at China was a promising development, and both cars made it home for the first time this year. Is this the weekend where either Fernando Alonso or Jenson Button makes it out of Q1 and/or into the points?

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Valtteri Bottas Williams

***

For full broadcast information on the Bahrain Grand Prix, click here.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.