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The Formula 1 2018 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is set to begin. Here’s all you need to know

The 2017 Formula One season had it all. From the intense rivalry between British world champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, soap-opera-level drama in Singapore and road rage in Azerbaijan. Now, the 2018 Australian Grand Prix season opener in Melbourne in March can’t come quickly enough. Here’s everything you need to know.

OUR TIP TO WIN

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted they will not look to make too many changes to Lewis Hamilton’s title-winning W08 car – and it’s not difficult to see why. Hamilton clinched a record-breaking fourth world title last year and also brought home the Constructors’ Championship alongside team-mate Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes in 2017.

The 33-year-old is gunning for no less this season. Whilst it’s hard to envisage a title race without Hamilton in the mix, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is tipped to be his closest rival in 2018, not Sebastian Vettel.

RULE REVOLUTION CONTINUES

After the controversial rules revolution in 2017 – one that saw F1 cars become wider and faster – the changes set for 2018 are relatively few in number. But one significant change every F1 fan will immediately notice this season is the introduction of the halo. This is a cockpit protection device that is designed to further improve driver safety in the event of an accident, and in particular to deflect debris away from the head.

NEW LOOK RACING CALENDAR

Despite the Malaysian Grand Prix dropping off the calendar, the 2018 F1 calendar has 21 races around the globe, including the eagerly anticipated return of a Grand Prix in both Germany and France. This year’s French Grand Prix will be the first since 2008, and it will also see the return of the Paul Ricard Circuit, which last hosted the Grand Prix back in 1990.

The German Grand Prix also returns to the championship after a one-year absence, as part of F1’s first-ever triple-header in the summer. Other changes introduced this season will see the Azerbaijan Grand Prix brought forward to April, and the Russian Grand Prix moving from April to the end of September.

NOT TO BE MISSED…

F1’s favourite night race at the Bahrain International Circuit will be held under floodlights for the fifth time this season, and it’s a spectacle you simply can’t afford to miss. The Formula 1 2018 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is set in a distinctive desert location in Sakhir, 30 km south west of the island’s capital, Manama.

The destination will take centre stage on April 8, 2018, a spot in the thick of the drama in the opening corner, you should opt for seats in the grandstand at Turn 1.

The circuit’s debut night race back in 2014 saw then Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg duelled to spectacular effect in one of the best races the sport had seen in years.

Words: Claire Bloomfield

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