Do you remember the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2018? That race was definitely Max Verstappen’s race. But, despite engine issues and lack of speed, Lewis became the winner. Few days ago, in Bahrain we saw something very similar to the Brazilian race - how another’s victory goes to Hamilton and Mercedes.
After the race finish, Lewis, praising Leclerc, repeated few times that they [Mercedes] were "fantastically lucky" today. Obviously, it’s difficult to call it differently. During the weekend Mercedes remained in the shadow of the brightest Ferrari performances. And even in qualifying, Lewis's "party" was spoiled by the first pole position in the career of the young Monegasque. However, the race gave Hamilton a real "happy end".
The British started the third, behind the Ferrari duo. After a great Vettel's start, Leclerc dropped to the second place, but instead of overtake the rival, Lewis lost the position to the teammate. Soon, Leclerc rehabilitated and took away the position from Bottas, who was then overtaken by Lewis.
On the 6th lap between the Ferrari drivers there was a change of positions again, but Lewis wasn't hurry to overtake Vettel. On the 14th lap the first wave of pit stops has begun: Lewis drove to the pits and the only one of the leaders has chosen Soft, while Bottas, Leclerc and Vettel have chosen Medium. As for pit stop time, Hamilton made it before Vettel. Not that the early pit stop helped Lewis, as already on 22nd lap he told engineers that the rear tyres were done, although the bet was made on tyres.
So, it isn’t surprising that on the next lap Sebastian passed the rival. Their fight lasted until the second wave of pit stops, Lewis again went to the pits before Vettel, but both have chosen Medium. At the expense of a later pit stop, Sebastian returned to the track right in front of Hamilton, and a decisive battle ensued between them. Most likely, the victory in this battle would have gone to Sebastian, if he didn't make his usual mistake. The German's car has turned, what opened the way to the podium for Lewis. After such a priceless gift from Vettel, Ferrari again decided to please the rivals: Leclerc was losing the engine power, and Lewis easily passed him. Even though Hamilton's tyres were completely killed, he was able to hold the first place.
Another key moment for Lewis was "Porridge man", specifically the absence of him. In Bahrain Valtteri Bottas was far from that model that we saw in Australia. He managed to get ahead Lewis only once during the weekend, in FP1. But then he couldn’t show something more extra. Bottas race was quite lonely, but tough. At the start of the race, Valtteri passed Charles, but was quickly attacked again. After next overtaking by Lewis, Bottas remained on the role of the last of the leaders. In the midst of the fight between Vettel and Hamilton, Bottas went into the boxes, where changed Medium on used Soft. Again, if not Seb's mistake and technical issues on Leclerc's car, it's unknown would come the Finn on the podium, but the race happened as it happened: on the 54th lap Bottas followed by Hamilton overtook Leclerc and gave the team a double podium.
It was amazing to see how slow compared to rivals and teammate Bottas was at Sakhir. Especially after his brilliant performance in Australia. After the race, the driver admitted that his front wing got a plastic bag, which also affected the speed.
However, despite the unpredictable victory and double podium, Mercedes principal Toto Wolff admits, the team still has many weaknesses and loses Ferrari a lot...in theory. Because now in reality it looks the other way.
So, obviously, if not the Ferrari problems, Mercedes wouldn't have been able to come to the podium, and even more to make a double. After the race, the drivers didn't hide that on Sunday the luck was on their side. But we have another question: why is the luck always on their side? What is their secret?