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Hamilton the hunted explains mindset as hunter Verstappen closed in

Hamilton the hunted explains mindset as hunter Verstappen closed in

F1 News

Hamilton the hunted explains mindset as hunter Verstappen closed in

Hamilton the hunted explains mindset as hunter Verstappen closed in

Lewis Hamilton has explained his mindset as for once in Formula 1 he found himself behind hunted down by the hard-charging Max Verstappen in the closing stages of a scintillating Bahrain Grand Prix.

Verstappen had topped all three practice sessions and qualified on pole which led to him being installed as the favourite for Sunday's race.

Following a strategic battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, Verstappen successfully passed Hamilton on lap 53 of 56 around the outside of turn four, only to be ordered to hand back the lead after gaining an advantage from exceeding track limits.

Despite continuing to hound Hamilton over the final three laps, Verstappen was unable to make another attempt at a pass due to the pace of his hard tyres falling away.

Asked whether he felt he had the win in the bag before going on to take his 96th F1 victory, Hamilton replied: “When he was chasing me, no. I knew he was catching me massively.

"I couldn’t do the laps that he was doing and I guess in my mind I was thinking ‘Okay, if I can just hold on to these tyres and make no mistakes, maybe I can just keep him at arm's length out of my DRS’ which wasn’t necessarily the case.

“It was hard.”

As Toto Wolff remarked, however, the 'racing Gods' were on Hamilton's side, due in part to Mercedes' battle plan and the resilience and resistance of the seven-time F1 champion over the closing laps.

“I was struggling," said Hamilton. "Obviously, we stopped so early, quite shorter than our planned strategy.

"But even with our planned strategy lap that I would have stopped, it was already going to be difficult to keep him behind but he went so much longer and had much fresher tyres.

“Then they [the pit wall] said ‘He’s going to catch you with 10 laps to go’. I was like, I don’t know how I’m going to do this.

“We knew the weekend and through testing that we were going to be on the back foot and there has been a lot of worry in the team but we pulled it through.”

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