Lewis Hamilton had the final say in the F1 season opener race at Bahrain. The race was an exciting one with Hamilton having to work hard to hold off Max Verstappen and crossing the finish line first.
Max Verstappen started the race well controlling the early stages of the race. However, he could not quite drop the two Mercedes that was behind him. Mercedes made their move on lap 13 where Hamilton pitted for new hard tires and consequently went ahead of Verstappen with the advantage of the extra grip of the tires.
The race went on with Red Bull not responding immediately until lap 17 where they fitted a new set of medium compound tires onto Max Verstappen’s car. This was a massive advantage for Red Bull as it would mean a faster lap against the hard tires fitted to Hamilton’s car. Also, Mercedes did not have another set of medium compound tires on hand.
Hamilton who was in control of the race had to pit on lap 29 for a set of new hard tires. Max Verstappen would regain the lead after an error from Hamilton. Lewis would, unfortunately, out-brake himself into turn 10 running wide allowing Max the opportunity to lock in his slipstream with DRS capability and he was in the lead. However, Max’s lead was short-lived as he was ordered to hand back the position to Hamilton as his overtake was not clean.
According to the FIA regulations, if you gain an advantage off track which Max had by completing the overtake, then you are penalized unless you hand the place back. The Red Bull had collected a rear axle slide mid-corner which had him move left and therefore completed the pass off track. Max handed the lead to Hamilton at Turns 10. Hamilton would hold on and pass the chequered flag first winning the season opener race in Bahrain. Max was a close second with Bottas finishing third