Lewis Hamilton admits his victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix was ‘definitely lucky’ and consoled Charles Leclerc after the Ferrari rookie missed out on his maiden win.
Leclerc started from pole position and dropped to third on the opening lap but recovered to retake the lead by Lap 6. From there, he appeared to have the race under control and was enjoying a comfortable lead when a power unit issue cost him five seconds per lap and handed victory to Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas also later passing Leclerc for second place.
“Today was a really, really hard job,” Hamilton said. “This weekend the Ferraris have been incredible and I just had to see Charles because he did such a great job. I’m sure this is a devastating result for him as he had done the job to win the race.
“We were definitely lucky today but you have to take it as it comes. Ultimately, I still gave it everything in the race and I pushed as hard as I could, and obviously the fight I had with (Sebastian) Vettel was great fun for me.”
Hamilton overtook Vettel around the outside of Turn 4 for second place as the German spun trying to fight back, but then cruised by an ailing Leclerc in the closing stages. Having consoled the 21-year-old in parc ferme, he admitted it was a strange feeling to take the lead in such fashion.
“Ultimately you want to pass someone because you’re quicker than them and through a fight. I went past Charles down the back straight and I raised my hand to him because there’s nothing I could do — obviously I didn’t have any problems, so it definitely feels weird and, honestly, you can’t believe your luck in those scenarios, but what can you do? You can’t deny yourself it.
“You just have to keep doing what you’re doing and pushing ahead. I’ve been in positions like that: We’ve been in the lead many a time when the car has stopped and I know how it feels.
“But it’s always good to look at the glass half full, because today he still got some great points even though he had that problem and he was an outlier all weekend — even to his teammate. He was so much faster than his teammate all weekend so he has so many positives to take from it — and we have a lot of work to do to try and keep up with him!”