Bahrain: What the drivers had to say

Lewis Hamilton: “It was very tricky out there today and I had to give it everything I had. We were very, very lucky to get this 1-2, Ferrari outperformed us all weekend. Ultimately you want to have a real fight and want to pass someone because you’re quicker, so it feels a bit weird and you can’t quite believe your luck in these scenarios. I have been in similar situations and I know how it feels, but Charles did a great job all weekend long and has a beautiful, bright future ahead of him. We’ve only had two races; one where we were rapid and far ahead, one where Ferrari had the upper hand. It’s hard to say how the next races are going to pan out, but I anticipate that it will be a tough fight and that it will be a back and forth between the two teams. We need to keep working hard to see where we went wrong this weekend and to see where we can improve the car. But as we saw again today, reliability also plays an important role, so we need to keep working on all areas. We’ll take the points we got today and move forward to China.”

Lewis Hamilton, 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, Sunday – Wolfgang Wilhelm

Valtteri Bottas: “This was not an easy race, the car was very difficult to drive and the conditions were very tricky with the gusty winds today which made the car very unpredictable. I had a good start and managed to get to P2, but in the next lap the wind caught me up going into Turn 1, so I lost the position again and ultimately fell back to fourth after a battle with Lewis. After that it was actually a relatively lonely race for me at points, I didn’t see anybody; but I think it was probably very exciting from the outside with many unexpected moments. Ferrari were very strong again in the race as they were all weekend. But luck was on our side today, which was a welcome change for me personally after all the bad luck I experienced last year. On the other hand our car was very reliable which ultimately won us the race today. It was a tough race for Charles, but he did a great job all weekend and I’m sure his time will come. We’re leaving Bahrain with lots of points but also a lot of work to do for China.”

Daniil Kvyat: “This weekend has been a bit scrappy, starting from yesterday where we should have qualified better. At the start of the race, I had too much wheel spin which put me on the back foot on the first lap. From then onwards, you have to fight harder to make up the lost positions and, without these couple of issues, I think it would have been a better race for us. Our pace was quite good today, it’s just a shame we had the spin after the contact with Giovinazzi. This weekend wasn’t the strongest, but we learned some lessons from it so hopefully we can put everything together for a better weekend in China.”

Max Verstappen: “I think we maximised the result today and it was another good point’s score. To finish fourth was not too bad as we struggled with pace and rear grip, especially with the high winds. I was sliding around a lot so it was not easy and I just had to manage it, but I don’t think we could have done a lot differently. I drove to the limit of the car, in Australia it was better but here it was pretty difficult. We were almost on the podium today but it would have been down to luck as we didn’t have the true paceand really deserve it. Anyway, it was more unfortunate for Charles, but at least he’s still on the podium and I’m not too disappointed with fourth. We still have a lot of things to learn about the car so we will go back to the factory, understand what happened here and continue to try and close the gap in China. This just wasn’t our weekend.”

Max Verstappen, Bahrain GP - Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen, Bahrain GP – Red Bull Racing

Pierre Gasly: “It was quite a difficult race and I’m still not completely comfortable with the car. As soon as I try to push, I struggle a lot with the rear and the traction. For sure, I need to see what I can improve to get the maximum out of the car and work with the engineers to see what we can do to make me feel more confident, because at the moment I feel I cannot really push. I need to make an effort and adapt, because each car is different, and I will work with the team to find a set-up which fits my driving style better. Overall, I think there are also some positives today. After the start the car felt better, I managed to finish inside the points, and now we just need to find the areas we can improve on. We will do the work and I’ll do anything I can to arrive stronger in China.”

Alexander Albon: “That was a busy race – I felt like I was always fighting with someone at some point, there was always something to do! I didn’t have the best start as I was a bit shy into the first corner, but after that, I put my head down and got on with it. We had a good strategy and decent pace on the prime tyre. In the end, we got a bit lucky with the retirements, but I’ll take it! It was so tricky with the wind out there and it made the car unpredictable, but we were quite strong in the race, it’s just a shame about the start. It was a challenge to overtake because when you get close to another car the tyres overheat and you get a bit stuck. However, I enjoyed myself out there and it was good to get that experience. I’m very happy to pick up my first points in Formula 1 and I hope we can carry this pace into China.”

Robert Kubica: “It was a very tough race, but we expected that. The car balance issues that I am having put me in a difficult position today. Additionally, the wind didn’t help so it made it more complicated, but I had a few enjoyable laps when the tyres were fresh. However, I knew what was coming so I had to take care of the rubber and ensure that I kept the FW42 on track rather than concentrating on performance.”

George Russell: “We know where we are at the moment, but it was a fun race for me. I had some nice little battles with Robert so I’m thankful to the team for letting us race as it was enjoyable. It was quite a good race from a personal perspective but obviously not too enjoyable finishing in P15. We know where we are fighting for, but we brought the car home and learned some more things.”

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW42 makes a pit stop. Bahrain Grand Prix

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW42 makes a pit stop.
Bahrain Grand Prix, Sunday 31st March 2019. Sakhir, Bahrain.

Lance Stroll: “I haven’t seen the replay yet but I think the contact with Romain [Grosjean] was a first lap racing incident. Unfortunately we touched, there was damage, and I had to pit for a new nose. We were racing wheel-to-wheel and these things happen, but it was really costly because my race was pretty much over after that. We carried on racing and pushing, but we couldn’t recover after losing so much time. The wind had really picked up out there today, but everyone was in the same boat and after a few laps we got used to it. We finished the race and there is plenty to analyse, but we’ve got to see where we can improve before we get to China.”

Sergio Perez: “It’s good to pick up my first point of the season. It was an unpredictable race and in that sense it’s a nice surprise. We got a bit lucky with both Renaults retiring, but at the same time the Safety Car didn’t help me because I was closing on Albon and I lost the opportunity to overtake him for ninth place. I made a really good start and gained a few positions, but I couldn’t defend my position for long. Then, we had an issue with the brakes getting too hot and I had to pit much earlier than planned to remove some debris blocking the brake ducts. Considering everything that happened in the race we can be pleased to pick up a point.”

Sergio Perez, Racing Point RP19

Sergio Perez, Racing Point RP19, Bahrain

Nico Hülkenberg: “It’s definitely a hard one to swallow today. This sport can be so tough sometimes. It was a great ride out there with lots of battling on track to go from seventeenth to sixth, but unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to the finish line. We’ll look into what happened, but I lost power quite suddenly and that was that. It was a fun race with a crazy first lap which I had to survive and by then I had to keep my head down. The team did a great job on the two-stop strategy today and we can take positives from that. We have to be cleaner going forward and make sure we don’t face anymore disappointments like this.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “A lot happened in the race today. Initially it looked like we had competitive pace and we therefore committed to a one-stop strategy. As we got deeper into the first stint I could tell that the tyres were struggling a lot. In hindsight, two-stops would have been better. Towards the end, as the others were coming through, I couldn’t do too much to defend. I wanted to put up more of a fight but it was not possible, sadly. At the end of the race we had an MGU-K problem. It was a very up and down weekend, a lot happened, and we will take some time to absorb everything and come back stronger.”

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