It appeared a cruise to victory in Bahrain for Lewis Hamilton, but in fact he was pushing “flat out” to escape Red Bull.
The Mercedes driver led for all but one lap as he took victory in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, and until a late Safety Car, he had put himself just beyond a pit-stop ahead of Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.
However, the Briton said it was in no way an easy drive to victory as Verstappen forced him to push “flat out” in what was a physically demanding race.
“It really was physically very demanding,” the seven-time World Champion told Sky F1.
“I think with the break that we had at the beginning – you get into a mindset, you go out, you get a good start and then that 45 [minute] to an hour wait that we had, it’s so easy to step out of the zone. So that was quite tricky.
“They [Red Bull] had a lot of speed today so I was flat-out the whole way trying to keep them at bay.
“This track has always been physical. You’ve got lots of high-speed corners so I was definitely feeling it. I managed to just about reply to him when I needed to.
“But I was sliding around out there and I wasn’t sure how it would play out at the end. So I’m massively grateful to my team because they did a great job with the strategy and what a privilege it is to be able to get another result like this.”
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Hamilton’s win was of course overshadowed by the incident which caused the “45 minute to an hour” wait which the drivers had, that being Romain Grosjean’s horrifying first-lap crash.
Fortunately the Frenchman has escaped with minor burns and no broken bones, and Hamilton, like everyone, was just thankful that the incident didn’t have a worse outcome.
“It was such a shocking image to see,” he said.
“I don’t know what Gs he pulled, but I’m just so thankful that the halo worked, I’m grateful that the barrier didn’t slice his head up or something.
“It could have been so much worse, but I think it’s a reminder to us and hopefully to the people who are watching that this is a dangerous sport and that is why we are out there pushing to the limit and playing with that limit.
“But you also have to respect it and I think it shows the amazing job that Formula 1 has done, the FIA has done over time to be able to walk away from something like that.”