All eyes were set on Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as they delivered a promising season-opener any F1 fan could ask for. Mercedes’ strategy was spot on at Bahrain however it was also Hamilton’s skill and perseverance that pushed them ahead.
The Brit was leading the race on worn tires as Max Verstappen was catching up to him on his new tires. However, Hamilton was able to defend his position successfully.
Pedro de la Rosa, former F1 driver revealed in a recent podcast how Hamilton does tire management.
“Lewis is amazing! I mean, since the day one he jumped into the Formula 1 car at McLaren, he was already special. You can see it straight away.
“It took him like a couple of runs in Silverstone to get up to speed, competitive lap times. He had some windows where he’s unbeatable.
“When the compounds are very hard, like in the winter testing. He’s at his best. Every one of us always struggled to get the Michelin for example to a consisting tire operating window and he was just smashing everyone because he loves to slide the car.”
Many believe that the Mercedes car is the reason for Hamilton’s wins especially after he dominated the season last year. Yes, this does play a role but the Brit clarified that his driving skills are not shabby at all.
De La Rosa explains how Hamilton manages his tires in long-distance races.
“His strength basically is when the tires degrade, when the tires drop-down, he carries a lot of speed into the corner.
“He is not so dependent on the rear tires to exit the corners with a lot of traction. So his time advantage comes on entry. Therefore, in the race, people say, ‘he’s very quick over one lap’, of course, he is.
“But actually, his strength is not over one lap but his strength is on the race distance where he kills Valtteri or any of his teammates basically on the entry speed,” explained the F1 veteran.
The first race made it clear that this season is going to be absolutely exciting. Hamilton is chasing a record breaking eighth championship title. One of his major threat being Max Verstappen in his Red Bull.
Who do you think will make it to the top this season? Let us know in the comments below!