Ferraris are all set to lead the pack

April 2 - 8, 2008

Bahrain, since its entry into Formula One, has been the traditional second home of Ferrari.

The team has already concluded miles of testing along with Toyota early this year. So there is a good chance that the race could be a strong one for Ferrari.

The season has started off strangely this year. After several years, six different drivers have been on the podium in the first two races.

But if the misfortunes of the two top teams - Ferrari in Australia and McLaren in Malaysia - are to be discounted then it does not seem surprising that the rest of the teams are desperate in the act of catch-up.

Pre-season favourites Ferrari had their worst Grand Prix for a while in Australia, with Raikkonen picking up the lone point after his car developed a problem during qualifying.

This meant that the Finn had to effectively start from the back in the heavily fuelled Ferrari.

But the manner in which he scythed his way through the field showed that the Ferrari still had the pace from winter testing.

McLaren had it relatively easy in the opening race of the season with Hamilton scoring a perfect 10 and showing the speed the car was capable of generating in clean air.

Ferrari's speed in clean air is yet to be tested, and although Hamilton has said that he could have gone faster in Melbourne, it was clear that in Malaysia, Raikkonen was in cruise mode with his nearest challenger a full 20 seconds behind.

Massa has had two horrible outings. With no driving aids this season, Massa's skills will be fully tested.

He started off well in Malaysia but squandered away a chance for second place with an unforced error that left him on the gravel trap in turn eight at Sepang.

Hamilton is looking forward to the Bahrain race after a good performance last year. The young Briton has taken the F1 circuit by storm and Bahrain could provide the impetus for another great season once again.

With the troublesome Fernando Alonso now out of the way at McLaren, Hamilton will have a clear path in front of him. With the team totally committed to him, Hamilton has the capabilities to fulfil the faith imposed on him.

He knows that the rookie tag is no more on him. After his outstanding performances last year, Hamilton is one of the favourites for the title.

The drivers will be happy that they faced hot conditions in Australia and Malaysia before the Bahrain race. This has made acclimatisation easier.

The test will be the sand that could blow on to the track which could make the turns difficult to cope with.

Given the track conditions, Raikkonen and Hamilton could well dominate the field.

Although the season favourite appears to be Ferrari, it may not be as easy for the team because they have to iron out their reliability issues soon.

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