“The problem was that Lewis (Hamilton, ed.) Was just a bit too fast. For the first eight laps, the field remained close together due to the red flag and safety cars, turning it from a possible optimal three-stopper into a two-stopper. If we had let Max come in for a stop earlier, he would have ended up in traffic. To be honest, I don’t know what we should have done differently. ”
It was now race director Hamilton who stopped a lap earlier than Verstappen, who would have preferred that he himself had taken control. The Dutchman’s second stop was then unusually slow (5.1 seconds) and, to his dissatisfaction, he was also brought in for a third stop. Although Verstappen himself pointed out that he had not automatically beaten Hamilton with what he considered to be a more aggressive choice.
“Even at an earlier first stop, Mercedes could probably have caught it,” said Horner. “They had more speed and their tires held up well too.”
Behind Hamilton and Verstappen, Red Bull driver Alexander Albon finished third in Bahrain after taking advantage of engine trouble at Sergio Pérez. The race was marred by Romain Grosjean’s early horror crash.
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