‘I gave it everything, it was a bit of a struggle’ says Hamilton after taking P2 on Austin grid
Lewis Hamilton says he “gave it everything” in his pursuit of pole position for the United States Grand Prix but admitted it was “a bit of a struggle” to get to grips with his Mercede as he ended up second behind title rival Max Verstappen.
The seven-time world champion’s Mercedes team have taken pole in every race at Austin since the hybrid turbo era began in 2014, but that run came to an end this year as Red Bull found pace overnight to usurp the Silver Arrows.
“I gave it everything today,” said Hamilton. “It was a bit of struggle through qualifying. From P1 onwards we fell back a bit, and those guys were incredibly quick through qualifying so I was happy with my last lap.
“It’s an amazing circuit, but it’s got even bumpier and trickier to ride through. It’s got more character with those bumps, so I hope they don’t change too much.
“Just knowing that in FP1, things were going well and then you have times taken away from you, then you make adjustments, all these changes you’re making along the way, and the wind is shifting, it makes it tricky to keep the car….and we’re generally struggling with the car, it’s been moving around a lot, so it was definitely tough to get even that second place time at the end.
“Of course there’s always areas we can improve but I think that was pretty much everything we had and so we’ll just work as hard as we can tomorrow. There’s good positioning tomorrow and hopefully it will be a good race down to Turn 1.
“[My] mindset is to win the race and to give these guys [the fans] the best racing they’ve seen,” he added.
With Hamilton second and Bottas fourth, which becomes ninth after his five-place grid penalty for engine component changes is applied, Mercedes have failed to take pole in Austin for the first time in the hybrid turbo era.
Hamilton will start alongside Verstappen for the seventh time this year, and while he'll start eight metres further back, he does have the inside line heading into the very wide Turn 1. An intriguing start awaits.