Lewis Hamilton says he was delighted and relieved to win the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix after a “tough” and “intense” fight for the lead with his team-mate Nico Rosberg.
The Mercedes duo battled for the top spot on the podium throughout Formula 1’s 900th race, with Rosberg moving ahead of Hamilton on numerous occasions. However, he couldn’t hold on to first for long and eventually had to settle for second.
“What an incredible day,” Hamilton said after the third round of the season. “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.”
Rosberg was disappointed to finish in the runner-up spot but admitted that he gave it his all. “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 the German.
“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 difference between the prime and the option was not as big as we expected however and that’s why I didn’t quite manage to get by.”
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG Petronas