Lewis Hamilton had a funny chat with Charles Leclerc on the podium after Sunday’s dramatic Bahrain Grand Prix. Both drivers were able to finish third and first respectively, with Carlos Sainz Jr taking second. However, it was a frustrating day for Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Hamilton entered Sunday’s Grand Prix in Bahrain hoping to get his new season off to a positive start.
And he did just that, finishing third with Ferrari pair Leclerc and Sainz Jr taking first and second respectively.
Hamilton was delighted with his team’s showing, saying after the race: “Of course, we were fortunate, but ultimately we’ve done a better job – we have better reliability.
“I wouldn’t say that’s luck. I think this is the hard work of everyone.
“It’s such a long season. It’s going to be such a hard battle, but we love a challenge – I really do enjoy a challenge.
“It is a privilege for all of us to be able to work with large teams of people who are hungry, who are focused on a common goal.
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“There’s no greater feeling when you all come together and you get a result like this.”
And he was a happy figure on the podium after the race, too.
Hamilton smiled as Leclerc sipped from a bottle. Historically, it has been champagne inside.
However, with Bahrain having strict laws against alcohol in place and banning drinking in public, they substituted it.
Previously, officials have given rosewater to those fortunate enough to end up on the podium.
Yet Hamilton was seen saying to Leclerc that it was energy drink 7 UP instead, with the American drink chosen by authorities.
Both laughed over the incident and the Ferrari star continued drinking away regardless, undetered.
In fairness, 7 UP can be tastier than champagne. In certain cases at least.
And it’s likely to be used as a substitute next week, too, when the second race of the season takes place in Saudi Arabia.
Hamilton isn’t a drinker off the grid, with the Brit previously saying in 2015 that he didn’t see the appeal of alcohol or drugs.
“I’ve never ever wanted to do either,” the Mercedes star said at the time.
“I can’t really understand why people do it. So no, never had it my family.”
Regarding the race in Bahrain, meanwhile, Hamilton admitted it was important to take every opportunity to get points on the board.
He now has a 15-point lead over Max Verstappen after the first race, with the Red Bull driver and defending champion forced to retire.
And he trails leader Leclerc by 11 points.
He said: “I’ve lost world titles with just one point.
“Whilst we’re currently not necessarily – performance-wise – fighting with these guys [Ferrari], as I mentioned, this is not [just] damage limitation, but just a really, really great result.
“I think, in terms of our processes, in terms of squeezing absolutely everything out of the car, that’s what we did, for both drivers.
“And I think that’s a true showing of strength within.”
Toto Wolff thinks Mercedes will struggle to win the title this term, despite Hamilton clinching third spot.
“If you look at the pecking order today it seems a very long shot to even think about being in contention for any of the championships,” he said.
“Realistically when you are third on the road you can’t think about winning it.”