Bahrain Grand Prix LIVE: Lewis Hamilton fifth as Max Verstappen looks to deal early blow

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Hello and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix as the new F1 season finally gets underway this afternoon.

Today’s race will set the tone for the rest of the campaign and Max Verstappen will be looking to make the perfect start to his Drivers’ Championship title defence by taking the chequered flag under the lights at the Bahrain International Circuit.

It seems as though Red Bull and Ferrari will be in the ascendancy at this early stage of proceedings, with Mercedes still working to iron out a number of the issues that plagued their efforts in pre-season testing.

Lewis Hamilton, who controversially missed out on claiming last year’s end-of-season honours at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, will start from fifth place on the grid after a dismal qualifying session on Saturday in which George Russell could only manage to seal a ninth-placed finish at the end of Q3.

We’re just one hour away from lights out in Bahrain and will be providing live updates throughout the day as F1 returns after a three-month absence.

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