Lewis Hamilton: “What an Incredible Day”

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg brought home a second consecutive 1-2 finish for the Mercedes-AMG in Bahrain, but in far different circumstances than to the first a week previously in Malaysia. Both drivers had a big fight for the win in which Hamilton came out on top but only just.

Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff was delighted about how his drivers dominated not only the race but the whole weekend.

“It has been a fantastic weekend for the team from start to finish,” said Wolff. “To have led every session with both cars is a real achievement and we can be very proud of the combined effort of our staff at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart.

“The race was quite simply brilliant to watch, with battles throughout the field. Lewis and Nico drove with a great deal of maturity and respect for both each other and the team but still put on a great show. What we saw today was two drivers at the peak of their abilities fighting fair and square for victory. This is what we go racing for and it was a strong advert for the sport: in particular under these new regulations.”

Race winner Hamilton, who joined five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio on 24-career grand prix wins in Bahrain, was delighted to hold off his team-mate despite being on what appeared to be the inferior tyre for the final stint.

“What an incredible day,” said Hamilton. “That was a really tough race tonight and I am absolutely delighted to have come home with the win. It’s a long time since I had a race like that! I knew that I needed a good start and to go into the first corner in the lead was crucial to my race this evening. From there, it was such a battle. Nico drove fantastically well and, in all honesty, he had the pace on me today but I managed to hold on.

“I knew when the safety car came out that Nico would be on the option tyres and that he would be quick. To try and stay ahead of him was so hard and when I came across the line I was just so relieved. When you’re racing your team-mate, the pressure is really intense and we both knew that we had to bring the cars home for the team and for the championship.

“All credit to the team for allowing us to race and I hope the fans loved the show that we were able to put on tonight. A big thank you to the team, especially to my engineers for all the information they were giving me during the race, and to everyone here and back at the factories for all their hard work. Another one-two is just fantastic for us.”

Runner-up Rosberg was disappointed that he finished second to Lewis but was happy enough to admit he enjoyed the closeness of the racing. He put in his all to pass but Hamilton held him off fantastically.

“It was a great battle out there this evening with Lewis and this kind of race is exactly why I am in Formula One; I love to race like today,” said Rosberg. “Of course, it’s very disappointing to have finished second in the end but I gave it everything and it just didn’t quite come off for me.

“Lewis did a great job defending his position and, so often when I did manage to get past, I then couldn’t see him in the blind spot in my mirrors. Our strategy was good and to change it after the first stint was a decision that I made with the team. It was a slightly slower strategy but it gave me the best chance of catching Lewis at the end on the option tyres.

“The positive must be that this was a great day for Formula One. The race was a fantastic show and hopefully it proves that the critics of our new technology are wrong. I can’t wait for China now and I want to end up on the top step there.”

Mercedes Technical Executive Director Paddy Lowe spoke to both Hamilton and Rosberg over the radio to make sure they brought the cars home, but was happy to let them race for the win.

“Another exceptional and well-deserved result for the team today after what has been a flawless weekend from everyone involved,” said Lowe. “From the pit wall, the race was fascinating to watch. While there were undoubtedly some tense moments, we knew that both drivers would be sensible enough to bring the cars home: although it was worth throwing in a little reminder just to be sure!

“For now, though, we can enjoy what has been a highly successful few weeks for the team.”