After a break of only a week since the Chinese Grand Prix, we have arrived (metaphorically in my case) at the Sakir circuit in hot and dusty Bahrain.
Last year this race (which was the first Bahrain GP to be held at night) saw an exciting, race-long battle between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, featuring some near wheel-to-wheel racing that ended with Hamilton emerging victorious on that occasion.
With Hamilton and Rosberg at the centre of an interesting exchange of words in China, a repeat of that battle here could be a very fiesty affair. Rosberg needs to show he can match Hamilton and needs to that soon rather than later. However, there is a new variable this year, with Ferrari perhaps eying another good race in hot conditions (something that suited them in Malaysia).
A possible issue for Ferrari will be the decreasing track temperatures as night takes hold, which could see the Mercedes get stronger as the race wears on.
Key areas to watch here are Turn 1 (at the end of a DRS zone), Turn 10 (a hard braking zone following on from a quick sequence of turns) and Turn 11, which should also serve up a good overtaking opportunity. As of the end P3, Hamilton has been only narrowly faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, which suggests an interesting qualifying session and a fascinating race.