Lewis beats Max

How Hamilton beat Verstappen with a slower car at the Bahrain Grand Prix, holds off Verstappen for tactically brilliant win at Bahrain GP.

@LewisHamilton

For all the millions of dollars and labour hours invested by Mercedes and Red Bull over the winter, the two cars that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen raced on Sunday evening were split by just 0.7s after 300km of racing.

The close finish was the best result Formula One could have hoped for and teases the potential for the most exciting title battle in years.

What made the race so great was that it could have gone either way.

On pure performance, Red Bull had the edge, but Mercedes was close enough that a clever tyre strategy had the potential to turn the tables.

Hamilton drove one of the best races of his career. Verstappen, it’s fair to say, did not. But the two hours of entertainment that resulted was absolute box office.

Lewis Hamilton embraces his Mercedes team after sealing a stunning win at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
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Lewis Hamilton embraces his Mercedes team after sealing a stunning win at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

With his victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton delivered an emphatic and salutary reminder that if Max Verstappen is to wrest the title from the champion’s grasp he will be fought every inch of the way.

Formula One moreover could not have asked for a more spectacular, gripping finale to the season-opening race than the deciding laps at the Sakhir circuit. Hamilton’s win for Mercedes over Red Bull’s Verstappen was as unexpected as it was enthralling and it was the fight the sport had been waiting for.

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Lewis Hamilton’s genius faces fresh test as he aims for record eighth title

 

The new season had promised a potential contest between the 23-year-old Verstappen, for the first time in his career in machinery that can challenge for the title, and the 36-year-old Hamilton, attempting to take his eighth championship.

It was a mouthwatering prospect and the pair duly delivered in a climax that was impossible to predict until the chequered flag flew. When ultimately Hamilton and Mercedes had taken one of their most unlikely wins given the form book going into the race, the scale of the achievement was clear as the team celebrated almost as if they had won the title.

The pair vied for the lead right across the final six laps, Hamilton in front and Verstappen charging. For brief seconds the Dutchman took the lead only for the highest drama to play out at high speed.

The Red Bull driver had the place but had to allow Hamilton to take it back as he had gone off the track to make the move, against the rules which are hard and fast in this scenario. Verstappen was left to rue not quite calling it to perfection after a race he had, until that point, executed with inch-perfect precision.

“The pressure was immense.” Hamilton said. “He is a fantastic driver and they have the quicker car. That was one of the hardest races I have had for a while. We had such a great fight here and they are going to come back with a vengeance in the next race.”

Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen in Bahrain.
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Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen in Bahrain.

The victory was clearly of immense satisfaction to the world champion, coming as it did with Mercedes under the cosh against Red Bull who had been faster all weekend, quickest across practice and with a clear pace advantage in qualifying. Yet when it mattered – as they have done so many times in the past – Mercedes and Hamilton were able to find another level. The team has been superlative operationally in winning the past seven drivers’ and constructors’ championships and they once again delivered at the Sakhir circuit. They could not match the Red Bull for pace but pulled off a coup.

Mercedes had done all they could with an alternate tyre strategy to give Hamilton a shot at Verstappen while Red Bull held their nerve and stuck to their own plan.

The two drivers were in a race of their own out front and a cat-and-mouse series of pit stops ensued but after both had stopped twice Verstappen emerged eight seconds behind Hamilton, the world champion leading with 16 laps remaining but with tyres that he had already run for 10 laps.

Red Bull had brought Verstappen in on lap 40 for his final stop and it was a straight fight for the win. He set about the task and duly flew, catching the champion on lap 50. Two laps later he was on his gearbox as Hamilton’s worn tyres told, and the hard but fair racing was unmissable. The British driver defended stoutly but Verstappen passed him on lap 53 at the outside of turn four only to edge just wide putting all four wheels off the track. A tiny margin but enough to ultimately cost him the race. A reminder also that with passing in these cars so hard, the track position Mercedes had opted for proved the better option.

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Verstappen had three laps to try again but his tyres had passed their best, he could not get close enough and Hamilton showed all his experience to hold the lead and take the victory by only seven-tenths of a second.

It is now 30 years since his father first raced and Mick Schumacher of the Haas team, the 22 year-old son of seven-time world champion Michael, had a spin early in the race on his F1 debut but recovered to finish in 16th. The double world champion Fernando Alonso, in his return to F1 after a two-year absence, had to retire with brake problems on lap 34.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was in third and Lando Norris was an excellent fourth for McLaren. Sergio Pérez did well to recover his Red Bull to finish fifth having started at the back after a mechanical problem on the formation lap.

The seven-times world champion Hamilton knows he is up against it this season and securing every point may prove vital in a title fight that could go to the wire. There are 22 more races between now and December and if this is what the season holds in store Formula One has the makings of classic championship fight on its hands.

Lewis Hamilton says Bahrain GP win proves it’s more about talent than car

  • Opening win a ‘chance to prove people wrong’, says Hamilton
  • Mercedes driver adds: ‘We’re not the fastest: that’s all good’
Lewis Hamilton celebrates his remarkable win at the Bahrain Grand Prix as fireworks erupt in the background at the Sakhir circuit.
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Lewis Hamilton celebrates his remarkable win at the Bahrain Grand Prix as fireworks erupt in the background at the Sakhir circuit.

 

Lewis Hamilton celebrated his victory against the odds at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix as again proving that he can make the difference behind the wheel.

The world champion beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen into second after a thrilling finish in what he predicted would be an enthralling season-long fight between the pair of such intensity it was likely to turn his hair grey.

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Hamilton holds off Verstappen for tactically brilliant win at Bahrain GP

 

In Bahrain Red Bull had the pace advantage. Hamilton is attempting to take a record eighth title this year but has in the past fended off accusations that his success has been attributable to being in the best car. Here was unequivocal evidence against that suggestion, he said.

“There are always opportunities to prove people wrong and today is definitely one of them,” he said. “There have been many in the past and I hope there are many in the future to be able to show what I was able to do today. We don’t have the fastest car at the moment, that’s all good for me. I don’t mind having to pull out extra in order to make the difference.”

Verstappen definitively had the quickest car over the weekend but Mercedes had the more successful strategy while Hamilton was able to nurse his worn tyres at the end, holding off the Red Bull after high drama when Verstappen took the lead only to have to hand it back having gone off track to do so.

It was enthralling racing and suggests a real battle between the pair is on the cards this season. The British driver was revelling in the prospect.

“I loved every minute of it,” he said. “I am super happy for the fans that they are excited, this is something they have wanted for a long time. It’s only one race, we don’t know what the future holds. With the pace they have they could be ahead a lot more but we are going to work as hard as we can to stay close in this battle and I hope for a lot more races with Max. It’s a long way to go, 22 races, holy crap, I will be grey by the end of it.”

WHO IS “Lewis Hamilton”, THE GOAT OF F1 RACING…………

Lewis Hamilton’s Career Results, YTD….

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton 2016 Malaysia 2.jpg
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Born
Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton[1]

7 January 1985 (age 36)[2]

Occupation
Parent(s)
  • Anthony Hamilton
  • Carmen Larbalestier
Family Nicolas Hamilton (brother)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality
United Kingdom
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British
Car number 44[note 1]
Entries 267 (267 starts)
Championships 7 (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Wins 96
Podiums 166
Career points 3803
Pole positions 98
Fastest laps 53
First entry 2007 Australian Grand Prix
First win 2007 Canadian Grand Prix
Last win 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix
Last entry 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix
2020 position 1st (347 pts)
Website lewishamilton.com
Signature
Signature de Lewis Hamilton png.png
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Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE HonFREng (born 7 January 1985) is a British racing driver. He currently competes in Formula One for Mercedes, having previously driven for McLaren from 2007 to 2012. In Formula One, Hamilton has won a joint-record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles (tied with Michael Schumacher), while he holds the outright records for the most wins (96), pole positions (98) and podium finishes (166), amongst others.

Born and raised in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, Hamilton was signed to the McLaren young driver programme in 1998. This later resulted in a Formula One drive with McLaren in 2007, making Hamilton the first black driver to race in the sport. That season, Hamilton set numerous records as he finished runner-up to Kimi Räikkönen by one point. The following season, he won his maiden title in dramatic fashion—making a crucial overtake on the last corner of the last lap in the last race of the season—to become the then-youngest Formula One World Champion in history. After four more years with McLaren, Hamilton signed with Mercedes in 2013.

Changes to the regulations for 2014 mandating the use of turbo-hybrid engines came at the start of a highly successful period for Hamilton, during which he has won six further drivers’ titles. Hamilton won consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015 during an intense rivalry with teammate Nico Rosberg to match his hero Ayrton Senna‘s three World Championships. Following Rosberg’s retirement, Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel became Hamilton’s closest rival in two intense championship battles, and Hamilton twice overturned mid-season points deficits to claim consecutive titles again in 2017 and 2018. Hamilton won his third and fourth titles in a row in 2019 and 2020, respectively, equalling Schumacher’s record of seven drivers’ titles.

Hamilton has been credited with furthering Formula One’s global following by appealing to a broader audience outside the sport, in part due to his high-profile lifestyle, environmental and social activism and his exploits in music and fashion. He has become a prominent advocate in support of activism to combat racism and push for increased diversity in motorsport. Hamilton was listed in the 2020 issue of Time as one of the 100 most influential people globally and was knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours.