REIGNING champion Lewis Hamilton reiterated his desire to equal Sir Jackie Stewart’s British record of three world titles after maintaining his blistering start to the season with a controlled victory at the Bahrain International Circuit yesterday.
Hamilton took his tally to three wins in four races this year after starting on pole, coming home ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who claimed his first top-three finish since 2013, and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in third.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel failed to produce a sustained bid and damaged his car after going off track while racing Rosberg, eventually claiming fifth place behind Williams driver Valtteri Bottas under the lights at the Sakhir circuit.
Success extended Hamilton’s lead at the summit of the driver’s standings to 27 points from Rosberg, while the 30-year-old also claimed his ninth victory in his past 11 races and set a personal best record of finishing in the points for 11 consecutive grands prix.
“I’m gunning for it,” said Hamilton, in relation to emulating Stewart’s feat. “It was a good day at the office. It was pretty hard because the Ferraris were quick and Nico was quick and I wasn’t able to pull the gaps as easily as I would have hoped.
“It’s always easier to chase in general and Ferrari have made a good step this weekend because they were really quick. But I was really happy because I had pace and I could answer to whoever today.
“I had control and it’s not often you have that.”
Hamilton appeared to overcome a brake issue on the penultimate lap without too much fuss, finishing 3.3 seconds ahead of Raikkonen, and insisted he has complete faith in his Mercedes vehicle.
“I remember coming through Turn 13 and just thinking ‘I love this car’”, added Hamilton. “The car was nice with great driveability. I was getting on the power smoothly and I’ve got the car in a nice comfortable spot.”
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