Current F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel confessed that his victory at Bahrain had been anything but a foregone conclusion and that the Lotus drivers had made him work hard for the top spot on the podium.
"It was an incredible race, extremely tough," he said. "Kimi was fast today and it was close, but I am extremely happy and very proud of the team."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was equally relieved to see his driver emerge triumphant against the suddenly on-form Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
"A tight race with Kimi, especially approaching the final stop – it was crucial to get that right," he said, adding: "Congratulations to Lotus on their very strong performance today."
For Vettel, the key moment came at the very start. If he hadn't been able to get away quickly and pull out a lead over Lewis Hamilton in the early laps while the Lotus cars were still working their way through traffic, then it might have been a very different story come the end of the race.
"A good start was crucial and I was able to pull away from the pack, which was a big advantage as we always had to go on scrubbed tyres due to the fact we had used almost all of them in qualifying yesterday," agreed the race winner.
"A good getaway from pole, Sebastian settled in to the race and had a very strong first stint," agreed Horner. "Seb did a masterful job of keeping the life in the tyres and making the three-stop strategy work."
Raikkonen came close to overhauling Vettel on the penultimate set of tyres, with Vettel just holding on to track position through to the final round of pit stops, which proved decisive.
"With a great performance from the pit crew, we actually managed to win a second in the pit lane," said Horner, calling that extra second gained over the Lotus a "phenomenal" achievement. "We thought we could take them on in a pit stop," he admitted.