F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Lewis Hamilton has revealed the moment he realised he could keep the Red Bull of Max Verstappen at bay during the thrilling Fomula One Bahrain Grand Prix season opener, but admits it was anything but comfortable.
The epic duel to the end of the season opener in Bahrain has had many people talking and the drama shrouded in controversy thanks to a Verstappen move on Hamilton in the closing laps.
Verstappen had been fastest all weekend, leading the way heading into turn one at the start of the race, with Hamilton not far behind.
But then strategies seemed to start changing throughout the race, with Mercedes pitting Hamilton much earlier than Verstappen to try and force the Red Bull team to pit and take the net lead.
It was a risky strategy by the end of the race, with Hamilton on much older tyres than Verstappen and was forced to cling on for the final few laps.
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The Dutchman eventually launched on Hamilton to take the lead of the race, however quickly had to hand the place back due to a request from race control, costing the Red Bull driver a win.
Hamilton was forced to go on the defensive on track, and admitted it was very late into the final lap he realised he could potentially win the race.
When asked when the Brit realised it was all under control, he replied: “Probably with two laps to go maybe, or maybe the last lap? I think it was the last lap. I think probably on the second to last lap when Bono just kept going on and telling me how many laps were left.
“He was like, three laps, two laps – I’m like Bono I can count, I’ve got it.”
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Hamilton was heard on the radio asking for his race engineer Pete Bonnington to leave him to it after hearing Verstappen was closing the gap to the Mercedes.
The seven-time world champion added: “He’s just nervous, but I’m grateful for Bono, his patience with me.
“I think it was really the last lap, there was a point – I think when I got to turn four, I knew that I was in a good position.
“But then oversteer out of turn 10, nervousness out of 11, snap oversteer in 13, which is a really bad one.
“And Max, I was thinking, that’s it. He’s got me now. But I think he had the same thing.”
The battle between Red Bull and Mercedes will continue on April 16-18 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix held at the iconic Imola Circuit, which presents another chance to see if Verstappen can really challenge Hamilton this season.
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