Max Verstappen and Red Bull didn’t get the result they would have wanted last weekend in Bahrain, however, the on-track competition suggests the battle for the championship will be closer than ever this year.
With just nine laps to go on Sunday, Hamilton was in front, but it was clear the battle was on between the Mercedes and the Red Bull for the win.
Verstappen managed to close the gap to 2.9s between himself and Hamilton, while the Mercedes team forecast a striking distance of just 5 laps.
In a gripping battle, Verstappen re-took the lead, but after exceeding track limits during the overtake, the 23-year-old had to let Hamilton by, as the nail-biting action towards the flag continued.
Managing to just barely hold Verstappen off in the approach to the finish line, Hamilton took the win at the Bahrain Grand Prix, followed ever-so-closely by the Dutchman, who gave it everything up until the very last second.
Speaking about the firey competition and whether he enjoyed those closing laps or not, Verstappen said;
“Yes, of course. It’s also disappointing to be second.
“It just showed again that track position is super-important and, even when you think you have the better tyres, I was closing in quite comfortably but then, when I got close to Lewis, with how the wind was today in those critical low-speed corners, I just had no grip.
“Of course, still better grip than Lewis – but not enough to really make a difference. Of course, that one lap I had a shot at him, but also I think the backmarker was not really helping him, giving him a bit of a snap.
“So, that was not ideal. And then, of course, I ran a bit wide out of Turn 4, so had to give the position back. And then yeah, it was just impossible anymore to really go for it.
“I was always just too far behind. So yeah, we’ll analyse what we can do better. Clearly, today showed that track position was key, again.”
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton described what was going on in the cockpit in the midst of the gripping fight for the top step on the podium after spectators criticised his performance in the last laps.
Hamilton said; “Ah, it was horrifying! It wasn’t great. I was struggling obviously at the end with the rear end of my car, the rear tyres had gone off.
“They were maybe eight laps older or something like that to Max’s tyres, so I knew that he was going to catch me with 10 laps to go and I knew that it was going to be pretty much impossible to hold him behind, which it was, up until the Turn 4 incident.
“Then after that, I couldn’t believe that I was just keeping him behind.
“I managed to keep him in my wake, well, he was right behind me so then stuck in my wake and that meant it was difficult for him 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.”