Lewis Hamilton has described how it was always going to take something special to win the Bahrain Grand Prix, in the aftermath of his superb victory ahead of Max Verstappen and Red Bull.
The Dutchman looked to have the measure of Lewis all weekend, but in the end, good strategy from Mercedes, and fantastic tyre management from the Briton helped him seal a famous win.
"Max had an amazing performance all weekend," Hamilton told Jenson Button in his post-race interview.
"So it was gonna take something very special - and Max is all over me right at the end but I just about managed to hold him off. It was one of the hardest races I've had.
"Through testing we thought we were going to be like, six, eight tenths behind. So the work that's been done in the last week has been spectacular. And I'm just so proud to see everyone's so so happy for today as well."
The 36-year-old is relishing future on-track battles with Verstappen, who is widely regarded as his biggest title challenger this season.
Red Bull appeared to have a slender pace advantage this weekend, but for Hamilton, that only adds to his excitement for the season ahead.
"It's gonna take everything and more for us to put in performances like this, but we love the challenge, I love the challenge - and still love what I do,", Hamilton concluded.