By Robert Haile
Mercedes over came the difficulties they had in Bahrain to win a nail-biting Grand Prix.
During the race today, Sunday March 28, Lewis Hamilton held off the last lap challenge of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in what will hopefully be a duel for the title, to claim victory.
Valtteri Bottas came home in third with the fastest lap bonus point to finalise the the top three.
Speaking after the race Hamilton said: “Firstly, can I just say it’s the first time I have seen fans in a long time, it’s so good to see people out here and everyone keeping their distance and staying safe. I’m so proud of what Formula One has been able to do, to start on a normal schedule this year and wow, what a difficult race that was.
“Definitely by stopping early, we knew it would be difficult, but we had to cover Max and keep the track position in the lead. They have had an amazing performance all weekend, so it was going to take something pretty special to get the win tonight.
“We stopped for that last stint and trying to find the right balance between pushing hard and saving tyre performance for the end of the race was difficult. And Max was all over me right at the end but I just about managed to hold him off.
“It was one of the hardest races I’ve had for a while so I’m really grateful for it and massively thankful for the men and the women back at the factory and here, for continuously pushing the boundaries and never giving up, even if we do feel we’re behind.
“But we love the challenge, I love the challenge, I love what I do.
All was going to plan for Red Bull until the first round of pit stops where Hamilton took the lead until the second round when he came in 10 laps earlier then Verstappen.
Then the chase was on as Verstappen closed in and on lap 53 had a chance to pass but ran wide in what would turn out to be his last chance as Hamilton held on to win his 96 Grand Prix by an uncomfortable 0.7 seconds.
Bottas came in comfortable third but well behind the front two as Lando Norris came fourth for McLaren as Sergio Perez recovered from starting in the pit lane after engine trouble on the formation lap to finish fifth for Red Bull.
Then came Charles Leclerc ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren splitting the two Ferrari drivers as Carlos Sainz brought his home in eighth.
Yuki Tsunoda scored points in first F1 Grand Prix as Aston Martin took the last points as Lance Stroll came home in tenth.
Both Alfa Romeo’s finished just outside the points as Kimi Räikkönen beat lapped teammate Antonio Giovinazzi with Esteban Ocon coming ahead of Williams’ George Russell for Alpine.
Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel has made a difficult start to this season as he was penalised five places for not slowing down in qualification when yellow flags were shown and a ten second penalty for causing a collision but came in fifteenth as Mick Schumacher brought his Hass home in last place.
AlphaTauri impressive fifth in qualifying with Pierre Gasly didn’t improve as he with Nicholas Latifi for Williams, Fernando Alonso for Alpine and Hass rookie Nikita Mazepin did not finish the race.
Next up is the first of two trip to Italy on April 16 to 18.