‘I’ll be grey by the end of it’ – Lewis Hamilton straps in for Max Verstappen title fight

F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?

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Lewis Hamilton admits this could be one of the toughest seasons yet after snatching victory at the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix, as the Brit chases down a record-breaking eighth world title.

In the opening race of the season, Hamilton started on the front row behind the Red Bull of polesitter Max Verstappen, who was fastest in every single session of the weekend.

But during the race, Mercedes crucially decided to pit Hamilton earlier than the Red Bull, setting up a spectacular finish, with Verstappen reeling in Hamilton during the closing moments of the race on much fresher tyres.

Verstappen eventually got past Hamilton in a grandstand finish, but then suddenly slowed and allowed Hamilton back past.

After the race it was revealed that Red Bull team boss Christian Horner had been instructed by race control to let Hamilton back through after Verstappen gained an advantage by leaving the track.

Bahrain Grand Prix 2021 RECAP: Lewis Hamilton wins after thriller

However the race seemed to signify a change in Formula One, with Mercedes seemingly not having it all their own way with a potential new rivalry on their hands.

And Hamilton admitted this could set up a tantalising 2021 season.

He said: “I think I am super excited and happy for the fans that they are excited.

“I think it’s been something all the fans have wanted for a long time, of course it’s only one race so we don’t know what the future holds, but with the pace they head, they could be in front a lot more.

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“But we’re going to work as hard as we can to try and stay close in this battle, and I hope for many more of these sorts of races with Max and Valtteri [Bottas].

“It’s a long way to go, 22 races.

“Holy crap – I’ll be grey by the end of it.”

Hamilton is looking to beat Michael Schumacher to become the most decorated driver in Formula One history.

However the Brit felt like it could be one of the closest seasons yet, with Red Bull proving they can bring the fight to Mercedes.

“I don’t recall how close the other seasons were exactly, but I mean this has got to have started off as one of the toughest,” Hamilton continued.

“I think Red Bull, the pace is incredibly strong as you can see. We can’t match them in qualifying right now, that’s a big step for us.

“I thought we could get closer within the race, but that was a little bit too close for my liking.

“The thing is we just don’t know how much better they will be in other places we go to, or how much worse, maybe our car is better in another place then it is here, or maybe it’s worse – we will find out.

“One thing is for sure we’ll work as hard as we can to improve it.”

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