Bahrain F1 Grand Prix 2019: Start Time, Drivers, TV Schedule and More

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17:  Valtteri Bottas driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 and the rest of the field at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
Charles Coates/Getty Images

After a gripping opening in Australia on March 17, the second race of the 2019 Formula One season will be staged in Bahrain on Sunday.

Following Valtteri Bottas' dominant win for Mercedes in Melbourne, the onus will be on his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton—not to mention the drivers from Ferrari and Red Bull—to fight back.

The circuit poses unique challenges to the drivers, and it's a venue where Ferrari have excelled in recent years, with Sebastian Vettel taking the chequered flag in the past two editions.

After strong showings in practice, the Scuderia appear as though they are going to be tough to beat again at the Bahrain International Circuit.


Race Details

Date: Sunday, March 31

Time: 4:10 p.m. (BST), 11:10 a.m. (ET)

TV Info: Sky Sports F1 (UK), ESPN2 (U.S.)


The list of drivers for the 2019 season can be found on the F1 website.


Bahrain Preview

Although it wasn't a shock to see a Mercedes cross the line first in Australia, the manner in which Bottas was able to boss the race did surprise some.

Throughout the course of the 2018 campaign, the Finn appeared content to play a supporting role to Hamilton in what was a successful title win. Bottas was also the victim of some poor fortune throughout the season—the puncture the Mercedes man suffered when leading in Azerbaijan stands out as especially unfortunate.

In Australia, there were signs of something different from Bottas. The man himself said in the buildup to Sunday's race that he's more focused:

Luke Smith @LukeSmithF1

Bottas responds to Hamilton's suggestion he hasn't changed at all over the winter: "I can for sure say something in my mindset has changed. I feel different to years before." #F1 #BahrainGP

He also joked his new facial hair may have contributed to the Week 1 victory:

Mercedes-AMG F1 @MercedesAMGF1

'It must be the beard...’ 🧔🏼 Don’t you dare even think about trimming it, Bottas! 😂 #BahrainGP 🐪 #VB77 https://t.co/f2rj4qjsOI

As a five-time world champion, it would be a shock if Hamilton didn't respond with a big performance in Bahrain. The Briton would have been disappointed with the manner in which he was left standing at the start in Melbourne by his team-mate.

It looks as though the Ferraris will be tough to stop once again in the desert, though, as they flexed their muscles again during the practice runs.

Early on Friday, they set an ominous pace, with new Ferrari recruit Charles Leclerc 0.263 seconds ahead of Vettel and almost a second quicker than Bottas. Vettel then topped second practice.

The F1 account summed up why many anticipate Leclerc and Vettel will perform well in Bahrain and took a closer look at some of the new features on the car this year:

Formula 1 @F1

New track, new race weekend = new @ScuderiaFerrari? 🤔 They have won twice as many races (6) in Bahrain than any of their rivals 🏆 And they're out to prove a point after a disappointing time in Australia ⬇️ #F1 #BahrainGP 🇧🇭 https://t.co/7nINoe7S1m

Formula 1 @F1

In 2018, Sebastian Vettel won in Bahrain in the Ferrari SF71H 🏆 This weekend, him and @Charles_Leclerc will go for the win in the SF90 🇧🇭 Take a closer look at the evolution 👀 #F1 #BahrainGP https://t.co/VHluhShOlb

Red Bull had a bittersweet start to the season, as Max Verstappen battled to get on to the final step of the podium. However, they had to watch Pierre Gasly pull out in his first competitive outing for the team.

Verstappen's third-place finish in Australia was a significant moment for Red Bull engine provider Honda, as it was the first time the Japanese manufacturer has been on the podium since 2008. 

Ahead of the race, the Dutchman outlined some of the problems Bahrain's circuit offers drivers:

Max Verstappen @Max33Verstappen

Sand, wind and artificial light will add to the challenges of #BahrainGP 🇧🇭 #KeepPushing https://t.co/iUr2Fh6Yzw

The early evidence points to a weekend when Ferrari will be difficult to overcome, especially given the success Vettel has enjoyed in Bahrain already in his career, with four victories overall.

Hamilton will respond after letting pole position slip and has enough experience to split the Ferrari drivers. Leclerc has the car to get on the podium for the first time in his F1 career.


Prediction: 1. Vettel, 2. Hamilton, 3. Leclerc