James Allison, Chief Technical Officer at Mercedes, said that the Bahrain Grand Prix was one of the “most thrilling” races he experienced, as the Silver Arrows are struggling to keep up with Red Bull but still won.
After abusing track limits for over 28 laps and re-gaining the lead after an illegal overtake by Verstappen, Hamilton took victory of the first race of the year at Bahrain.
“It was one of the most thrilling, nail-biting, chest-bursting experiences that I’ve ever had at a racetrack,” said James Allison. “All of us were holding our breath, crossing our fingers, crossing our toes, and just hoping with everything we had that Lewis would be able to hang on till the end.
“That he did so in such style, that he did so with such inch-perfect positioning of his car at turn 4 when Max had that one go at him, that he did so with that degree of class, just added to the thrill of it all. And when he finally crossed the line, there was an outbreak of mass hysteria in our garage, with the utter, utter delight of it.
“Last year, we managed to win lots of races with a very strong set of performances,” he added. “But there will be very few races as memorable as the one we enjoyed in Bahrain.”
Not everything went well for Mercedes, however, as Valtteri Bottas struggled throughout the course of the race, also having a horrendous pit stop in which the Finn dropped 10.9 seconds, leaving him way behind the front two.
“Valtteri came in very neatly, positioned the car neatly and well, which is always a help for the pit crew,” Allison said. “But sadly one of the gunmen went onto the wheel, started to disengage the nut, loosened the nut, but then started to withdraw the wheel gun just a little bit too soon, before the nut had spun off its thread,” he explained.
“The subsequent follow-on mess of that is what causes something which is normally beautiful, two-second pit stop… to then collapse into something that hemorrhages lap time and seconds in the pit lane.
“But all of it was caused by that initial misplacing of the wheel gun machining the nut as the wheel gun came off,” concluded Allison.