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Mika Hakkinen has given his verdict on the exciting rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Hamilton dominated the championship for most of a decade and won seven world titles. But despite another Hamilton win, Red Bull and Verstappen have also dominated in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Two-time Formula One world champion Haikkinen believes Mercedes now need to work out how to deal with being the second-fastest in the paddock, something they’ve not had to deal with much in the past seven seasons.
“Mercedes are having to learn how to respond to the Red Bull challenge,” continued Hakkinen. “When you don’t have the quickest car it’s important to focus on strategy to try and force your competitors into a corner. This is what Mercedes managed to do on Sunday by getting Lewis to undercut Max during the first pit stops.
“Track position is so important. When you put a guy like Lewis in front, he is then able to use all his experience to manage the tyres and defend the position. We knew from the short, three days of pre-season testing that Red Bull and Honda had developed a fantastic car this year. But we all suspected that Mercedes might again be the top team in Bahrain, mainly because it has been this way since 2014!”