Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton wins first round as Max Verstappen shows his class


Formula One’s ‘racing gods’ smiled on Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in Sunday’s Bahrain season-opener however round one in every of what guarantees to be a far greater struggle confirmed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will likely be laborious to beat.

Bold technique and supreme racecraft gained the day after Verstappen, who had led testing and each apply session, began from pole place with a quicker automotive solely to complete second.

The 23-year-old Dutch driver would certainly have gained had he not gone off observe whereas passing Hamilton on brisker tyres with 4 laps remaining, after which been ordered handy again the lead in a key second of a nail-biting race.

“If somebody would have told me this is going to be the result on Sunday, I would have probably not believed it,” mentioned Mercedes group boss Toto Wolff.

“I’ve little doubt that they (Red Bull) are extraordinarily troublesome to beat. They are those which might be main the pack. And I feel immediately, the racing gods have been on our facet.

“It’s not that we have found suddenly some awesome performance.”

The victory, by a margin of 0.7 of a second, was Hamilton’s record-extending 96th and continued for a fifteenth successive season his run of successful in yearly he has competed within the sport.

The 36-year-old gained 11 of the 16 races he began final 12 months however the process already appears to be like loads more durable.

“Last year we would have been super-happy with this result and now we are disappointed, so we definitely made a good step forward,” mentioned Verstappen, whose new group mate Sergio Perez went from final to fifth.

Bahrain has not been Red Bull’s strongest race prior to now, which made their kind on the opening weekend all of the extra ominous.

“Red Bull’s pace is incredibly strong, as you could see. We can’t match them in qualifying right now,” mentioned Hamilton, whose win was his seventy fifth for Mercedes and the three hundredth by a British driver for the reason that championship began in 1950.

“We just don’t know how much better they’ll be in other places that we go to, or how much worse.”

Mercedes have gained the final seven drivers’ and constructors’ titles, after Red Bull gained 4 in a row with Sebastian Vettel from 2010-13.

Verstappen, who at 18 turned the youngest race winner within the sport’s historical past, has lengthy been seen as the champion-in-waiting and there’s a mounting feeling his time has come.

Hamilton mentioned he was as excited as anybody on the prospect of such a generational battle.

“I think it’s something that all the fans have wanted for a long time. Of course, this is only one race, so we don’t know what the future holds,” he added.

“There’s a long way to go, 22 (races)… I’ll be grey (haired) by the end of this.”


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