• Bahrain Grand Prix

Hamilton thought he needed a 'miracle' in Sakhir

ESPN Staff
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Nico Rosberg's attempts to pass Lewis Hamilton (right) were in vein © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton revealed he was convinced his chances of victory had vanished at the Bahrain Grand Prix after a safety car period undid all his hard work between pit stops.

Hamilton had a lead of about nine seconds over Rosberg when the safety car came out on Lap 41, meaning both Mercedes drivers pitted for fresh tyres for a sprint to the finish. Hamilton went on to the mediums and knew Rosberg was on the faster prime tyre, and he admitted he thought his chances of a second straight win were all but over.

"The safety car came out and I had a good enough lead, I think it would have been just enough without the safety car. I immediately thought 'shoot, he's on options, I'm on primes, it's going to take a miracle for me to hold him back'. There was six tenths in those tyres and he had so much grip behind me so it felt like one of the best calculated races of my career in terms of how I used my power and how I was position my car. He would catch me down the back straight and then he can stick with me in the last corner, he had about 10 or 12 K's on my with that DRS. It's all about knowing you have to kind of accept he's going to come past, but don't go to the inside and block. Move a bit to the inside and make him think you are and then move back, and accept he's going to come in but make sure you get back every time. I don't know how I did it every time but I did it!"

"I think we were both on the knife-edge and, when you're on the knife-edge, the risks increase. We were on the limit and maybe, next time, we'll come back a little bit [from there], but I was not letting it up today - he was doing 100, so I couldn't do 95. He drove fantastically well, he was fair and I like to think that I was too. It was close, but we didn't damage each others' race. The team put their trust in us and that was great."

Hamilton also said his mind was cast back to beating Rosberg during their first karting meet together, and how he feared his team-mate was going to get revenge on the biggest stage of all.

"I came to Italy for my second big, big race and Nico was already a superstar there," Hamilton said. "He was the lead driver for CRG [factory team] and through McLaren I was fortunate to get a top drive. Nico was leading the race, I was second, and I pushed him to get away from everyone else. Then, on the last lap, I overtook him and won the race, which was amazing for me!

"I think that was the start of our relationship and careers in racing, but I was thinking today that he was going to get me back - I'll have led the whole time and payback's here. I just did everything I could to keep him back."

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