Hamilton vs Verstappen: Mercedes Reveal Prediction Tools Couldn’t Pick Bahrain GP Winner

Published 04/02/2021, 2:40 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race on the podium with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


The season opener in Bahrain was quite a nail-biting race. For the first time in quite a while, we had two cars dueling it out at the front in the dying laps of the race, each within a whisker of the other.

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In the end, it was Mercedes F1’s Lewis Hamilton who triumphed over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. But the race was so close that Mercedes’ technical director, James Allison, revealed that even the race prediction tools couldn’t make up their minds over who would take the flag.

Allison gave an insight into the chaotic Mercedes garage as a charging Verstappen chased Lewis down, and even went past him for a few seconds, before he had to give back track position.

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Formula One F1. Bahrain Grand Prix. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The race was so close that even technology was left dumbfounded. Allison said, “We have all sorts of tools at the track that make predictions for us.”

But all those tools were of no help, they were making a prediction that was changing with about every two or three seconds, it was saying Lewis was going to win, then it would change its mind and say that Max was going to win.”

Allison talks about the anxious scenes in the Mercedes garage

The Silver Arrows technical director added, “Honestly you didn’t need the software to know how tight it was and 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 to the end.”

Formula One F1. Bahrain Grand Prix. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The Brackley-based outfit would have been quite relieved and ecstatic about the result. After all, they had a tough time in pre-season testing as all signs pointed to Red Bull going one up in the first race. But they defied the odds to make a great comeback.

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While Hamilton undoubtedly put in an amazing shift behind the wheel, he had the Mercedes strategists to thank for making the bold tire calls.

Heading into race 2, it’s advantage Mercedes. With two cars on the podium in Bahrain, it’s just the kind of start to their title defense that they would have wanted.

Can they build on from here and leave Red Bull in their wake? Or will the Milton Keynes-based outfit come back stronger? The race in Imola will give us a clue.

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Ronan Carvalho

1015 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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