Talking points ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, including Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton and Billy Monger

Last Updated April 04 2018, 14:36Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Following Sebastian Vettel's victory at the Australian Grand Prix, we look at the five key talking points ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Mercedes bidding to bounce back

Lewis Hamilton should have arrived in Bahrain on top of the pile, but instead - and for the second year running in his title battle with Sebastian Vettel - the British driver is playing catch-up. Hamilton dominated in Melbourne only for a timing glitch during a virtual safety car period to scupper his chances and allow Vettel to seal the most unlikely of victories. Mercedes launched, and concluded its investigation and have put a new process in place to ensure a similar error does not happen again. Hamilton's defeat at Albert Park places greater emphasis on this week's race in Bahrain. Ferrari were strong here last year with Vettel taking the victory. Another win for the Italian marque on Sunday will give them real confidence that they just might be able to take the challenge to Hamilton and Mercedes once more this year.

Will Hamilton pen new deal?

Hamilton's Mercedes team were keen to get their star driver's new deal over the line before the first race of the season, but, a fortnight later we still await news. There is no suggestion that Hamilton will not extend his contract with the sport's all-conquering team, but the delay is likely to be a distraction to both the 33-year-old Englishman and his employers. The sooner Hamilton puts pen-to-paper on a deal, which will see him earn the best part of £40million-a-year until at least the end of 2020, the better for all parties concerned.

Liberty to unveil F1 vision

It is set to be an important couple days off the track in Bahrain with F1's American owners' Liberty Media outlining their vision for the sport beyond the expiration of the Concorde Agreement in 2020. Liberty's first proposal - in which they called for simpler engines and the redistribution of prize money to ensure a level playing field - did not go down well with either Mercedes or Ferrari. The former revealed a breakaway series could happen if the teams could not agree on the right path forward, while the latter has threatened to leave F1 on numerous occasions. Do not be surprised to hear a regurgitation of both themes this weekend.

Racing under the spotlight

The Australian Grand Prix suffered some flak following a lack of overtaking at the season opener. Indeed Hamilton ultimately gave up in his quest to get back past Vettel for the lead after declaring it was impossible to overtake. "My best friend was on the edge of a cliff and I couldn't get to him to save his life because that's how hard it was to overtake," Hamilton said. We should not however, be too disheartened by the lack of entertainment Down Under. The very nature of the Albert Park street circuit has always made overtaking difficult and Bahrain, a track which often provides good racing, should provide a greater spectacle.

Monger stars on Easter weekend

On a quiet weekend for motorsport, Billy Monger completed another chapter of his remarkable story. The double amputee finished third at Oulton Park on Saturday in his first return to action since his horror crash nearly a year ago. "If you had told me that I'd have been on the podium at the first race of the year, I would probably have said you were lying to me," Monger, 18, said. The teenager requires further funding to ensure his Formula Three seat for the remainder of the season, but on the basis of his latest performance, he should not have any trouble in securing the financial backing.

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