Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: “Red Bull just had the upper hand, and we couldn’t match them”

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Credit: LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton fell twelve points behind Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship after finishing second to the Dutchman in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver took the lead at the start heading into turn one, but with Red Bull Racing pulling Verstappen into the pits before him, he lost out to Verstappen when he made his first pit stop.

The same scenario played out in the second round of pit stops, and although Hamilton pitted eight laps after Verstappen to give him fresher tyres in the final laps, he was unable to bridge the gap in time to make an attempt to overtake.

“Firstly, congratulations to Max, he did a brilliant job today,” said Hamilton.  “And also, a big thank you to the amazing crowd we’ve had in Austin all weekend, to perform in front of such packed grandstands and passionate fans has been a real honour.

“I really thought for a second we might be able to win, I gave it absolutely everything out there. It was such a tough race, but unfortunately, we couldn’t convert it. Red Bull just had the upper hand, and we couldn’t match them.

“It looked like they had a better and more stable rear end on their car, with less sliding. The start was obviously great and closing the gap towards the end, but I got into the dirty air and the tyres overheated in the last few laps.

“Thank you to the team for amazing pit stops and so much hard work over the weekend. We didn’t quite get it this time, but we’ll move onto the next one.”

“The pace difference wasn’t quite big enough to make passes easily” – Valtteri Bottas

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas ended the day sixth after struggling once more to make overtakes after being out of place in ninth on the grid following a grid penalty for an engine change.

The Finn fell to tenth in the opening laps as he slipped behind both Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda drivers, but he used a good strategy to not only jump Yuki Tsunoda but also McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris to run seventh.

He followed Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. for many laps, but it took until the penultimate lap of the race for the Finn to find a way ahead of the Spaniard to claim sixth.

“It was a pretty uneventful race for me, we tried the best we could, but it wasn’t easy to fight through the field,” said Bottas.  “Making progress was difficult and we knew it would be, because of the temperatures here and the characteristics of the track.

“In the first stint I got stuck behind the AlphaTauri’s and that cost me quite a lot of time. Once I was behind slower cars, the pace difference wasn’t quite big enough to make passes easily.  There weren’t any Safety Cars or other situations for us to make the most of, but with the grid penalty and where we started, I’m not sure what more we could have done.

“Not the strongest weekend for us, but in free air the car felt good and there are plenty of learnings we can take forward as a team.”

Valtteri Bottas started ninth but could only finish sixth in Austin – Credit: Jiri Krenek
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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