Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his relief following his victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix after he managed to see off the threat from Ferrari and claim his third race win of the 2015 Formula 1 season.
The defending world champion controlled the race from start to finish, only losing the lead through the pit stops, and eventually crossed the line with a 3.3 second advantage of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton had admitted before the race that he was unsure how Ferrari would fare in Bahrain, but others within the Mercedes team were fearful that it would lose to Sebastian Vettel as it did in Malaysia at the end of March.
However, the Briton remained calm at the front of the field, and thanked his team after the race for helping him to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.
“I’m gunning for it,” Hamilton said when asked about his bid for a third world title in 2015. “Firstly just a huge thank you to my team, they did an amazing job this weekend.
“The Ferraris gave us a really good run for our money, and out there it was really difficult to look after the tires in these conditions behind backmarkers and all sorts. Fortunately I was able to keep the car together, keep the tires as healthy as possible.
“We need to keep pushing as a team, we’ll of course do, and just a massive thank you to everyone and all the people that came out to support me this weekend, I really appreciate it.”
On the last lap of the race, Hamilton reported a problem with the brake by wire system on his Mercedes W06 Hybrid, with the same issue costing Nico Rosberg second place on the penultimate lap. The Briton lost time on the final lap as a result, but had enough of a lead to stay in first place.
“I think my brakes just got a bit warm when I was behind a few backmarkers,” Hamilton said. “When you get behind them, there’s no cool air coming in the brakes so they got a bit warm, but there was no problem.”
Hamilton will now be hoping to continue his fine form at the beginning of the 2015 season when F1 hits Europe at the Spanish Grand Prix in three weeks’ time.