Date: 31st March 2018 at 7:38am
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Does reigning Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton believe rivals Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel will be the favourites in Bahrain?

Vettel won the opening round of the 2018 Formula One World Championship in Australia last time out, but it was a rather fortuitous victory, handed to him by a Mercedes GPS software glitch that cost Lewis Hamilton the victory.

Mercedes were over half a second clear in qualifying and Hamilton looked set to begin the defence of his 2017 title with a victory.

Now he finds himself behind Vettel after the first round, not that Hamilton believes you can look at the standings at this early stage.

‘From my experience, you don’t really get a good understanding [of the title picture] until after four races, Right now, it’s just the first race – I have no idea. Hamilton told Sky Sports.

But Hamilton appears to have indicated that he feels he could find himself further behind Vettel after the next round of the championship.

The second race of the 2018 season is in Bahrain, introduced to Formula One in 2004, Ferrari have the most wins in the dessert. Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa [x2], Fernando Alonso and Vettel last season have all won in red.

In fact it was Vettel’s third victory at Bahrain, making the German the joint most successful driver at this circuit.

‘We go to Bahrain and there’s going to be ups and downs. Ferrari are really quick on the straights, they are going to be rapid in the next race, and they are always good when it comes to hot circuits. Bahrain, even though it’s a night race, is still tough on the tyres.

‘So I really have no idea – but I can tell you it’s not going to be easy and it’s going to be close.’