Lewis Hamilton holds off Max Verstappen to capture F1 season opener in Bahrain

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Associated Press
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

SAKHIR, Bahrain — Seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton just held off Max Verstappen to win the Bahrain Grand Prix season opener and clinch his 96th career victory Sunday.

The race was effectively decided when Verstappen overtook Hamilton with four laps remaining but went too wide on a turn.

Verstappen was instructed by his team to give Hamilton the position back, as he risked a time penalty from the race stewards, who had been enforcing track limits during the race at the exit of Turn 4 where Verstappen made the pass.

Verstappen still had a few more opportunities to catch Hamilton, and he almost did, finishing just 0.74 seconds behind the Mercedes driver.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, took third but finished 37.383 seconds behind because of a late pit stop for new tires that allowed his Mercedes to set the fastest lap of the race.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was fourth, followed by Sergio Perez in his Red Bull debut. Perez started from the pit lane because of prerace mechanical problems, but Verstappen’s teammate was voted the Driver of the Day after overcoming adversity.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Verstappen took a superb pole position Saturday, the fourth of his career, and started immediately ahead of Hamilton, who used an early pit stop to seize the lead.

The race then turned into a strategy battle with Hamilton maintaining a 9-second advantage after Verstappen made his last pit stop with about 15 laps remaining. Despite tires with about 10 more laps of wear, the Mercedes driver managed to set a quick enough pace that prevented Verstappen from retaking the lead.

The rest of the top 10 were: Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo (in his McLaren debut), Carlos Sainz Jr., Alpha Tauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll.

It was a miserable race for Stroll’s teammate, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel. After sustaining a five-spot grid penalty, Vettel was penalized for spinning Esteban Ocon and finished 15th.

In his return to F1 after a two-year absence, Fernando Alonso failed to finish because of suspension trouble in his comeback with Alpine.

Lewis Hamilton holds off Max Verstappen to capture F1 season opener in Bahrain originally appeared on NBCSports.com