Obviously it’s impossible to do such a thing but it’s possible to make a decent educated guess based on current data and previous form.
Some weeks ago, TJ13 published some team mate battle analysis based on a very clever mathematician named Andrew Phillips who runs a data-driven F1 analysis website called F1metrics.wordpress.com, I encourage any fan of the more technical aspects of our sport to go take a look and perhaps follow Andrew on Twitter (see below).
In Melbourne, Mercedes vs. Ferrari differed from testing. Using my estimates from testing, we can compare hypotheses: 1) Mercedes overperformed (sandbagging in testing?) vs. 2) Ferrari underperformed (poor set-up, etc.). Best quali times for all teams indicate more 1) than 2). pic.twitter.com/ia0ltZZBeu
— Andrew Phillips (@ajkphillips) March 22, 2019
Andrew of F1Metrics has given his analysis based on pre-season testing long runs to try and understand the pecking order. Obviously, in Barcelona testing, Ferrari seemed streaks ahead and Mercedes strangely slow, but given this as Ferrari overperforming and Mercedes ‘sandbagging’ in testing, the analysis isn’t far off for the team predictions.
Again, another analysis TJ13 published on team form from pre-season is from Karun Chandhok, the Sky F1 – ex Caterham F1 driver. He saw Ferrari very strong with Mercedes not too far behind.
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Looked through the 8775 laps done by the 10 teams in F1 testing to find representative race runs. Most logical way I thought was to bracket them into 3 distances of 31, 44 and 54 laps as not all did the same distance. Conclusions: 1. Seb & Charles are super close – 3 tenths after 31 laps! 2. Mercedes 16 seconds behind after 54 laps – average of 0.25 per lap; 3. RBR didn’t do a full distance or performance runs but the 2 stint 31 lap ‘race’ for Max show them to be very close to Mercedes; 4. Haas appear to be top of the midfield like in pre-season testing last year – Kevin’s race run on Day 8 was very impressive; 5. Midfield battle super tight – difference could be just engine modes; 6. I understand that Daniel’s run was compromised by a brake issue so expect Renault to be stronger in Melbourne. #RaceRunAnalysis #F1 #12DaysToMelbourne #F1isBack
Given that the general consensus is that Ferrari had some cooling issues in Melbourne as TJ13 wrote about earlier this week when Haas gave away some secrets, plus previous form for Ferrari at Bahrain, we can probably expect a very strong challenge from the Italians. Possibly a top tip for a win from Vettel who took his Ferrari to victory at the Bahrain Sakir circuit last year.
Currently, SBD lists Vettel’s odds of winning this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix at +625 which takes into account of what happened in the Australian Grand Prix.
It’ll be all about qualifying, and if Ferrari can claim the front row then there’s every chance of victory.
A dark horse worth considering is Kimi Raikkonen. The ex Ferrari driver and now Alfa Romeo (was Sauber) has always gone well in Bahrain and the Alfa Romeo Racing team are certainly on the up so points finish and possibly even a top 6 spot for Raikkonen wouldn’t be a surprise.