Seven-time Formula One world championship winner and defending champion Lewis Hamilton crossed the finish line first in the inaugural race of the 2021 season hosted at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
The Bahrain GP kicked off in the most disappointing way for debutant Nikita Mazepin, as right in the first lap of the race, the Russian spun his Haas before crashing into the sidewall after just three corners.
The race progressed with Hamilton having a neck to neck battle with Max Verstappen, the Belgian-Dutch driver of Red Bull Racing who started on the pole and towards the final few laps of the race even managed to shake his British rival and gained the lead.
One of the hardest races I’ve had for a while: Lewis Hamilton says following Bahrain GP win
Despite causing Hamilton to break and go off the track for some time, Verstappen himself went away from the track for a bit during his overtake, and as a result had to give back the Mercedes icon his lead back to avoid a penalty.
Nonetheless, Hamilton recognised the tussle with Verstappen in the post race interview, as well as admitted that this victory, which marked his fifth win at Bahrain, was one of the most difficult ones in recent times.
What a difficult race that was. Pitting early we knew would be difficult, it was going to take something really special. I just managed to hold him off – it was one of the hardest races I’ve had for a while,” Hamilton said after the win.
Difficult it may be, the 36-year-old managed to add one more record to his career- clocking more lap leads than any other driver in the history of Formula One, overtaking Michael Schumacher.
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who clocked the fastest lap of the GP, finished third. Lando Norris and Sergio Perez finished fourth and fifth, while it was a disappointing comeback for Fernando Alonso, the veteran Spaniard who’s rear bakes quitted on him on the 33rd lap.
Below here is the complete final standings of the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix:
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull-Honda|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Ferrari|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes|
|11||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari|
|12||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari|
|15||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin-Mercedes|
The next race of the 2021 F1 season, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, is scheduled on 18 April at the Imola Circuit.