Lewis Hamilton defied the chances to maintain off Max Verstappen and win the Bahrain Grand Prix.
In an interesting conclusion to the opening race of the year, Hamilton and Verstappen raced all the way in which to the chequered flag, with the previous crossing the road simply 0.7 seconds forward of his rival.
Verstappen appeared to have received the grand prix after driving previous Hamilton across the exterior of Turn 4, with simply three laps remaining.
But the Dutchman was instructed by his group to give the position again to Hamilton, fearing their star driver can be penalised by the stewards for working off the monitor.
Hamilton then managed to maintain Verstappen at arm’s size for the concluding laps to win the 96th race of his life in his pursuit of an unprecedented eighth world title.
Valtteri Bottas completed third, with British driver Lando Norris fourth for McLaren.
Standing along with his arms on his hips, Verstappen, who began from pole position, mentioned: “It is a shame but you have to see the positive because we are taking the fight to them.”
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Hamilton added: “What a difficult race that was. Stopping early was going to be difficult but we had to cover Max. It was going to take something pretty special.
“Max was throughout me proper on the finish however I nearly managed to maintain him off and it was one of many hardest races I’ve had for some time.
“Each year they are talking about when you hit your peak, and I’m at that and Max is really doing well, too, so it’s going to take everything and more from us but I love the challenge, and I love what I do.”