Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff says “track limits won the race for us” on Sunday after Lewis Hamilton claimed a sensational season-opening victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
It was at a set of white lines at Turn Four, with three laps remaining, that Max Verstappen ran beyond track limits as he passed Hamilton to take the lead.
But on the instructions of the race director had to hand back the place immediately.
World champion Hamilton held the lead and did not give Verstappen another chance as the pair provided a thrilling finale with the champion winning by seven-tenths of a second.
And Wolff says: “Max made a tiny mistake there and he had to give the position back.
“We were told suddenly during the race that track limits were imposed – and that is what won us the race.”
Hamilton agrees, saying: “If he [Verstappen] hadn’t made a mistake he would have won the race. I had to keep my mind set in the car and to make no mistakes.”