5 questions that need answers at the Bahrain Grand Prix

The first Grand Prix of the new Formula 1 season takes place tomorrow afternoon with the Bahrain International Circuit hosting the curtain-raiser for the 2022 campaign and, indeed, F1’s new era.

It’s an exciting moment for the sport as we finally get to see the all-new cars really put through their paces, with qualifying this afternoon at 3pm UK time and the race at the same time on Sunday.

What are the big questions heading into qualifying and the race, though? We take a look…

Who’s on top?

We finally get to see an idea of the pecking order this weekend. Every team has played down their chances to some extent or talked up their rivals but that all stops now with the stopwatch set to reveal all on Saturday afternoon.

Red Bull and Ferrari look strongest, so expect them to be challenging for pole and the race win.

Where do Mercedes rank?

If Red Bull and Ferrari are strongest, where do Mercedes lie? The Silver Arrows are struggling with porpoising and Lewis Hamilton in particular doesn’t look massively happy with his set-up right now.

It’s going to be fascinating seeing where the reigning champs stack up.

Any surprise teams breaking through?

With the new rules in place, will we see a new team joining the leading pack? Alpine and AlphaTauri looked half decent in practice on Friday, as did the Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher – could any of them go deep into Q3 and score good points?

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – MARCH 10: Pietro Fittipaldi of Brazil driving the (51) Haas F1 VF-22 Ferrari on track during Day One of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 10, 2022 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

How will Daniel Ricciardo fare?

Ricciardo missed all of testing last weekend thanks to a positive covid test and so it’ll be interesting to see how he goes today and tomorrow.

He said in his press conference it shouldn’t impact him too badly and so time will tell how up to speed he truly is.

What can Nico Hulkenberg do?

Speaking of covid, Sebastian Vettel misses the first race of the season for Aston Martin thanks to also testing positive, and Nico Hulkenberg will step in for him.

The German has had no running at all in winter testing in these new cars, and so comes into this weekend pretty raw, though he did get some miles in on Friday during practice.

He’s a talented driver, though, so he could still achieve a decent result.

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