Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen delivered one of the most exciting season openers an F1 fan could have asked for. While Mercedes F1’s strategy was spot on, the victory in Bahrain would not have been possible without the Brit’s incredible racing skill.
In a recent podcast, Pedro de la Rosa, former F1 driver, explains the Brit’s proficiency at 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.”
De La Rosa spells out the strengths of Lewis Hamilton
After a dominating season last year, many believed that the Mercedes car was the reason for Hamilton’s wins. Of course, the car plays a role; however, the Brit clarified in Bahrain that his driving skills are not shabby at all.
De La Rosa explains how Hamilton manages his tires and what makes him dangerous in a long-distance race.
“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.
After the first race, it is clear that this season is going to be very exciting. Lewis Hamilton is chasing a record-breaking eighth championship title while Max Verstappen, in his Red Bull, is posing a real threat to that milestone. Who do you think will come out on top of the table at the end of the season?