Lewis Hamilton held on for dear life at the end of that mega race in Bahrain, and he somehow managed to hold off Max Verstappen in a faster car and on fresher tyres.
He was thrilled with his performance, and rightly so. It seemed that every possible outcome in the final laps would see Max come out on top. However, Lewis would never give up easy and held onto first place until Max ruined his own chances when the tyres overheated and became more and more worn out.
“We came into this race knowing that we were on the back foot, knowing that it would be a tough start, and everyone just worked incredibly hard to try and maximise what we had,” Lewis said to Sky Sports at the end of the race.
“Everyone just kept their heads down, and I’m incredibly grateful to everybody.
“In the race, it was so hard to keep in the mindset [to be] consistent and not make mistakes, hold the ground. I think, ultimately, if [Max] hadn’t made the mistake, he probably would have won the race, but that’s what loses you win.”
Lewis has form in keeping a faster car behind in Bahrain. In the famous 2014 race, he had to defend Nico Rosberg for the win, with Nico on fresher and softer tyres. This time, Max had fresher tyres by ten laps and an extra DRS zone to play with and whilst he got so, so close, he couldn’t legitimately pass.
Hamilton made one mistake and went wide at Turn 11 which got Max into DRS range.
🗓 6 APRIL, 2014
🌍 First ever night race in Bahrain
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 6, 2018
“Yeah, that short lockup, when I was just behind another car, I think, just out of DRS, and so [I was] sliding around quite a lot behind this car.
“The pressure was immense. [Max] is a fantastic driver, and [Red Bull] have the quicker car, so to keep him behind on fresher tyres also, it was one of hardest I’ve had for a while. But I’ve got a really bad memory, so I’m sure there have been other good ones too.”
It’s been ages since Lewis had that kind of pressure at the end of a race.
Last season he had a lot of the wins covered off, and even in Turkey – which definitely took all Hamilton’s skill to win – he had a huge gap to Perez.
But that fight. Oh yes. That is what we’re here for! That is racing!
“Ah we’ve got such a great fight ahead. It’s not the end for Red Bull; they’re going to come back with a vengeance in the next race, so we’ve got to work hard,” Lewis continued.
“I hope the fans enjoyed it because I enjoyed it. Onwards and upwards from here.”
The next race is the snappy titled ‘Pirelli Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna’. In short, Imola.
Last year was one of the few races where Red Bull actually kept pace with Mercedes and is an entirely different type of track to Bahrain. If the next round is anything like the Bahrain Grand Prix, we’ve got a lot to be excited about!
Did you think Mercedes would win this race, or were you sure Red Bull had this in the bag?