Where does Mercedes fit into the picture then? Well according to the team, it still has plenty of performance to find and several high profile issues to rectify before it can fight for wins.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell maintain that they won’t be at the head of the field this weekend but rivals are sceptical as to the truth of those assessments. Mercedes definitely didn’t have its engines turned up, posting some of the lower speed trap figures throughout the final test in Sakhir but the issue of porpoising remains a big obstacle to overcome.
Ferrari and Red Bull appear to be on top of the issue for the most part with the former one of the best cars on current viewing at maintaining consistently downforce levels on the straights.
Mercedes’ W13 remained as one of the worst cars even on the final day of testing as the team struggled to find the ideal set-up to provide downforce in the corners but prevent the violent bobbing at top speed.
Whether or not that has been solved in the short week between the end of testing and Saturday qualifying will be a huge factor. If not, it will take some doing by Mercedes to be on a par with its rivals.
Otherwise it looks set to be a scrap between the Ferrari and Red Bull duo, with the Scuderia arguably holding the smallest of advantages heading into the first race of the new season.
2022 Bahrain GP session times
(All times GMT)
Free Practice 1: 12pm – 1pm
Free Practice 2: 3pm – 4pm
Free Practice 3: 12pm – 1pm
Qualifying: 3pm – 4pm
Race: 3pm – 5pm
Formula 2 Bahrain GP session times
Free Practice 1: 9.35am – 10.20am
Qualifying: 4.25pm – 4.55pm
Sprint race: 6.40pm – 7.30pm
Feature race: 10.40am – 11.45am
Formula 3 Bahrain GP session times
Free Practice 1: 8.25am – 9.10am
Qualifying: 1.25pm – 1.55pm
Sprint race: 9.45am – 10.30am
Feature Race: 8.45am – 9.35am