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MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Bahrain GP

Apr 19, 2013, 8:30 AM EDT

Bahrain F1 Grand Prix - Race Getty Images

As expected, the Chinese Grand Prix proved to be a challenging race to predict, especially after qualifying yielded little information. Eventually, it was Christopher and Keith who managed to correctly predict the race winner, with Tony touting Jenson Button as “sneaking a top five finish”. Can they continue this form for the Bahrain Grand Prix?

You can watch FP2, qualifying and the race on NBC this weekend via http://stream.nbcsports.com/liveextra/, or on their phone or tablet by downloading the apphttp://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/25481063/.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race winner: Fernando Alonso. A former winner in Bahrain and on-form after China, two-in-a-row for the Spaniard would truly assert his championship challenge this year.

Surprising finish: Romain Grosjean. His car issues aside, Grosjean has been cleaner – if slightly anonymous – through three races this year. I’d look for that to change at a track he finished on the podium on a year ago.

Most to prove: Jean-Eric Vergne. Vergne shaded Daniel Ricciardo substantially in China, and this was a race where Daniel made Q3 a year ago. At the very least, needs to outqualify the Australian and prove something to the Red Bull higher-ups.

Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting)

Race winner: Kimi Raikkonen. Five podiums in Bahrain, but no victory? After his runner-up effort in China, it’s high time for the Finn to get rid of his goose egg.

Surprising finish: Nico Rosberg. The German’s had some tough luck early on, but his car is steadily improving. That should keep himself confident to make some noise.

Most to prove: Sergio Perez. Pressure’s on for the young Mexican after he was told to “toughen up” on the track. Let’s see if Perez can get rough when he needs to.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. The late change in the tire compounds could give Red Bull an edge. Vettel proved late on in China that the RB9 is very quick indeed, so he will be challenging for the win in Bahrain.

Surprising finish: Valtteri Bottas. Williams may be struggling, but with a few DNFs here and there, they could open their 2013 account in Bahrain. Bottas has looked more likely to score than Maldonado, so he’s my tip for surprising finish.

Most to prove: Mark Webber. Webber’s Chinese GP weekend was the stuff of nightmares, so he needs to bounce back and prove that he is able to compete with Vettel. A good result will also quieten the Porsche-WEC rumors.

Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)

Race winner: Kimi Raikkonen. I’m tipping the Lotus to do well here. The E21 is great on its rear tires which will count for a lot at a track where traction is vital. Raikkonen’s smoothness and self-discipline will take care of the rest.

Surprising finish: Romain Grosjean. I’m going to concur with Tony. Grosjean is quick, he was terrific here last year and I suspect his change of chassis this weekend will help him get on top of the set-up problems that plagued his first three races.

Most to prove: Sergio Perez. Raikkonen’s criticism of Perez’s driving in China was well off the mark – the McLaren driver didn’t put a wheel out of line before the Lotus hit him. But he can’t be coming home in eleventh place while Button is putting in damage-limiting drives to fifth.

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