The scorching sun of the Sakhir desert casts its shadow above the paddock once again as the 2024 Formula 1 season roars into life. With 24 races on the calendar, this season is officially the biggest and brightest in F1 history.
Three-time reigning champion Max Verstappen is once again in the driver’s seat as the campaign gets underway on Saturday. Let’s take a look at the latest from pre-season testing and find the value in the F1 Bahrain odds.
F1 Bahrain Grand Prix Odds
Odds as of February 27th
Verstappen The Dominate Force at -275 Odds
Following the latest pre-season tests, almost all F1 teams are in agreeance. Red Bull remains the team to beat. Whipping the brand-new RB 20 around the track in Sakhir last week, Verstappen was over a second better than any of his competitors on Day 1, without breaking much of a sweat. The latest pre-season estimates pit the RB 20 at between three and four-tenths of a second per lap better than their competitors. If that's the case, Verstappen will be nearly impossible to beat in Bahrain and is a runaway favorite for good reason.
If he can secure pole position, which is highly likely, the Dutchman will be able to separate from the pack on the long straights of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Defeating him from there is a tall task for any F1 driver.
Can Anyone Topple the King?
Both Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell seem to enjoy the way their new and improved cars tested in pre-season compared to last year. However, toppling the Verstappen machine is easier said than done.
That being said, Ferrari was the only team to finish in the top three timeslots on each day of preseason testing. The prancing horse look set to regain their status as Red Bull's top challengers and give Verstappen and co. a run for their money.
The SF-24 has looked strong, with both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz discussing its improved maneuverability. The Ferrari drivers should be able to navigate even the tightest corners with their new car, however maintaining the pace of the RB 20 on the long straights in Bahrain is another matter. Leclerc looked set for a podium finish in Bahrain last season, before heartbreakingly being forced to withdraw on lap 41 with power issues. Sprinkling a half unit on Leclerc at +800 odds is an intriguing way to begin the F1 Championship betting season. However, the real value may lie with Verstappen's teammate.
At +1200, Red Bull's Sergio Perez represents the greatest value on the board. Remember, "Chico" finished second on this track just last year. He ended up winning two races and finishing on the podium nine times last season. He's got the same car as the Dutch champion and finished with the fastest lap time in pre-season testing. If mechanical issues or Verstappen somehow falls off the place, Perez is a great bet to win the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix.
History Of The Bahrain Grand Prix
This year's Bahrain Grand Prix will mark the 20-year anniversary of the race. Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher won the race with ease in 2004. The Grand Prix has been held every year since, with Lewis Hamilton recording the most victories with five.