Hamilton: Final few laps of Bahrain GP were "horrifying"

Lewis Hamilton says the final laps of his late Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix duel with Max Verstappen were "horrifying", as he feared keeping the Red Bull behind was impossible.

Hamilton: Final few laps of Bahrain GP were "horrifying"

The Mercedes driver's third and final stint was 11 laps longer than Verstappen's equivalent, as the Black Arrows opted to take an aggressive strategy to get ahead of the polesitter.

The tactic worked, but Verstappen was relentlessly homing in on Hamilton throughout his final 17-lap run to the flag – passing the world champion on the outside of the controversial Turn 4 right-hander with three tours remaining.

Verstappen was immediately instructed to hand the position back as he had exceeded the track limits in the process of passing, and, although he closed in again on the Mercedes in the few remaining tours, Hamilton held on to take a 96th F1 career win.

When asked how the final laps felt in his cockpit during the post-race press conference, Hamilton joked: "It was horrifying!

"It wasn't great. I was struggling at the end with the rear end of my car, my rear tyres had gone off. I think [they were] maybe eight laps older or something like that to Max's tyres.

"So, I knew he was going to catch me with 10 laps to go and I was like thinking 'it's going to be almost impossible to hold him behind', which in fact it was, up until the Turn 4 incident.

"Then after that I was just able to just keep him behind, I managed to keep him in my wake.

"Well, he was right behind me, so then stuck in my wake, and it was difficult for him in certain places to get close and he ended up wide in some places, which gave me a little bit of an edge. It's a difficult track to follow."

Read Also:

Despite the pressure, Hamilton said he "loved every minute" of his battle with Verstappen.

"Every minute of the weekend I've loved," he added. "Knowing as a team that we were behind in performance – these guys [Red Bull] have done a better job so far.

"And so, for us to come away with this result given the fact that we weren't the fastest this weekend is a real result."

Hamilton also explained that he did not certain he would hold on to win until the final lap of the 56-lap race.

He said: "Bono [Peter Bonnington, Hamilton's race engineer] just kept telling me how many laps were left! He was like 'three laps, two laps' and I'm like 'Bono, I can count! I've got it!'.

"He's just nervous, but I'm grateful for Bono and his patience with me. I think it was really the last lap – there was a point, once I got through Turn 4 I knew that I was in a good position.

"But then oversteer out of Turn 10, nervousness out of 11, a snap oversteer in 13, which is a really bad one.

"And I was thinking 'that's it, he's got me now'. But I think he had the same thing."

shares
comments

Related video

Wolff: Track limit rules can't be "a Shakespeare novel"

Previous article

Wolff: Track limit rules can't be "a Shakespeare novel"

Next article

Red Bull: Track limits rules should not be "shades of grey"

Red Bull: Track limits rules should not be "shades of grey"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Alex Kalinauckas
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Prime

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

Formula 1
Apr 22, 2021
How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021 Prime

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Prime

How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021