F1: Defending Champion Lewis Hamilton wins Bahrain GP

Lewis Hamilton wins Bahrain GP
  • Lewis Hamilton won the season-opening Bahrain GP
  • The defending champion had to fend off Marx Verstappen in a thrilling last lap
  • Valtteri Bottas joined them at the podium as McLaren’s Lando Norris finished fourth

Lewis Hamilton won the season-opening Bahrain GP after fending off Marx Verstappen in a thrilling final lap.

Hamilton survived a late-race battle with Verstappen who had passed Mercedes but had to hand the position back for running off-track.

The lead changed hands three times between the predicted title protagonists before Verstappen, who started on pole, chased down Hamilton in the closing stages – even overtaking the Mercedes with three laps remaining as Red Bull looked set to lay down their marker for the championship.

But, dramatically, Verstappen was forced to cede the position back to Hamilton after executing the move at Turn Four while off the track.

Hamilton, who withstood immense pressure on older tyres, then aced the final laps to take his first season-opening win since 2015, giving the Englishman the perfect start in his pursuit of a historic eighth title.

Valtteri Bottas was a distant third to complete the podium. Lando Norris was an impressive fourth for McLaren, with Sergio Perez recovering to fifth after being forced to start from the pit-lane following a formation lap reliability glitch.