Lewis Hamilton outduels Max Verstappen to win crazy F1 season opener

The Formula 1 season got off to a thrilling start at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but in the end, it was still Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who emerged victorious as he fended off a tough challenge from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in a nail-biting finish.

In a race that wasn’t decided until the very last lap and featured an entertaining duel between Hamilton and Verstappen, it was still the seven-time world champion who finished first. He was followed by Verstappen and another Mercedes driver in Valtteri Bottas to round out the podium finishers.

Verstappen, who started from the fourth pole position of his career, lost his early lead when Hamilton surged ahead in the first round of pit stops. But after the second round of pit stops for both drivers, Verstappen chipped away at Hamilton’s 10-lap lead to set up a heart-pounding finish. The Dutchman tried to pass him on Lap 53, but eventually had to give his place back as the 36-year-old remained ahead.

But that would prove to be the 23-year-old’s last chance to overtake Hamilton, who ended up crossing the finish line less than a second ahead of his rival:

Aside from winning the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton also secured his 96th career win and etched his name in the record books again by surpassing Michael Schumacher’s record of 5,111 laps led, the most in Formula 1 history.

While Max Verstappen had a chance to snatch a win for Red Bull over Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, the thrilling finish of the first race of the season means that the rest of the year could feature another close battle between the two teams.

Lewis Hamilton