Mercedes and Ferrari set for battle of wits in Bahrain
The Bahrain Grand Prix looks set to be a fascinating battle of strategy after Mercedes and Ferrari revealed vastly differing tyre choices for the weekend.
Formula One's new tyre regulations, which allow teams to pick 13 sets of tyres across three compounds, looked to have worked a treat at the Australian Grand Prix as the race entered the middle period with Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg each vying for the win on different pit-stop strategies.
Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez's lap-17 horror crash brought out the red flags, however, altering many drivers' plans, including those of Rosberg, who switched to the medium compound and ran until the end, taking the race win.
Rosberg had a single set of mediums available to him in Melbourne and the German will once again have just one set of the hardest tyres on hand in Bahrain, as will Mercedes team-mate Hamilton.
But the Ferraris of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, as well as Williams pair Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, will bring three sets of medium tyres to the Bahrain International Circuit, hinting at strategies with fewer stops, perhaps in an attempt to undermine the Silver Arrows' greater pace.
Raikkonen split race winner Hamilton and Rosberg on the podium in Bahrain last season, while Vettel jumped the Mercedes off the line in Australia, only to be let down by his strategists after the race's resumption.