Lewis Hamilton Q&A: Mercedes driver discusses thrilling Bahrain GP victory
Briton battled hard with Nico Rosberg under the floodlights
By William Esler
Last Updated: 06/04/14 7:11pm
Natalie Pinkham: Lewis your 24th race, you now join Juan Manuel Fangio on that list, that is quite an achievement.
Lewis Hamilton: "That is incredible, I can't believe it Fangio is like one of the greatest racers of all. I can't really believe it, I didn't think about that when I was up there. It has been an incredible day, a really tough race and I am looking forward to getting back and enjoying myself tonight. It has been amazing."
NP: How hard was it to defend against Nico Rosberg on the slower tyres?
LH: "It was a killer. It was to a max the hardest thing. There is six and a bit tenths between the tyres and when he was on the medium and I was on the option I didn't really have a great pace. Generally this weekend since qualifying I have really struggled.
"I had an issue in qualifying with my braking system which was changed before the race and I thought that might give me a bit more time, but I really struggled during the race and when the Safety Car came out I had that 9.5 second lead and I was thinking 'okay, hopefully this is enough' but he was so quick at the end and to try and stay ahead of him out of the DRS zones was so hard. When I came across the line my heart was so relieved."
NP: Your bosses at Mercedes put it down as the best race they have ever seen - does that seem fair?
LH: "I'll have to watch it, but in the car that is what it felt like. To be overtaken, when you do allow him to go past you have to calculate how you are going to get back and so every time I did it perfectly and I was really happy to enable that.
"He had the option tyre so I thought he was coming past at some point, but in the last couple of laps I was able to hold onto it. But a big thanks to the team for all the information they have given me and all their hard work back at the factory. This is a fantastic result for the team to get another one-two and let's hope there is many more success in the future."
NP: Where does this rank amongst your victories?
LH: "I don't know. 24 race wins - I can't believe I've had 24 in my career, it is a real blessing. But every one is special, every one is different and it feels different every time I wake up and every time I get in the car and when I finish the feeling is a lot different. There is a long, long way to go so I can't get too excited - Nico was quicker this weekend, or it seemed that he was a little bit quicker, so I need to figure out what that is so I can be quicker in the next race."
NP: How liberating is it for you to be allowed to race each other in that way?
LH: "It was very close, it felt very close - I don't know how close it was, but it felt very close - and I guess the team will decided how close that was. But Nico drove very well and hopefully I drove safe enough to stay in front. Hopefully we have more races like that in the future."
NP: Fantastic for you, fantastic for the team, but most important fantastic for the fans to see racing like that.
LH: "Yeah, that is what motor racing is all about. You have to have different tyres to enable it and the safety car was a real pain and I hope Gutierrez is okay. But things happen for a reason in terms of the safety car coming out and I guess that is what motorsport and Formula 1 needed - a race where you saw some overtaking for once and I am so relieved that I stayed in front."