The gap at the end of qualifying was final. Max Verstappen took pole for 388 thousandths ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver admitted, fatalistic, having extracted the maximum from his car.
Faced with an ultra favorite Verstappen for the race, thehe Briton attempted a daring strategy. Starting in mediums, he stopped early on the fourteenth lap to put on hard tires, which seemed ineffective.
Finally, the tires performed better than expected and Max Verstappen, who went to the end of his mediums, found himself second after his save, quite far behind.
However, the Dutchman ended up with much cooler tires in the money time. “I suffered in the last stint, detailed Hamilton. I had to find the right balance between not pushing too hard to preserve my tires, and not getting caught up too quickly. “
The seven-time world champion saw Verstappen melt away on him in the mirrors, but held out. Bet won. “By stopping early, we knew it was going to be difficult to keep up the pace until the end, according to the Englishman. But it had to be done. The Red Bull was superior, we had to try something special. “
This poker move allows Lewis Hamilton to land his 96th career success and to win the opening Grand Prix for the first time in five years… The day his car was presumably below. “It’s a very good start for us,” he analyzes. Especially if we look at the course of the weekend. In testing, we thought we had between 6 and 8 tenths of deficit over Red Bull. The team did an exceptional job. “
Lewis Hamilton is starting his road to an eighth crown in the best possible way.
Discover the full report and analysis of the Bahrain Grand Prix, produced by our special correspondent in Sakhir, in AUTOhebdo n ° 2305, available from tomorrow evening in digital version, and from this Wednesday on newsstands.