‘We gave it everything and they were just quicker’ says Hamilton after losing out to Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton came agonisingly close to catching race winner Max Verstappen at the very end of the United States Grand Prix, and though he wasn’t quite able to snatch the victory the seven-time champ says there is no need for a painful inquest into the result at Mercedes – conceding that Red Bull were simply too fast on the day.
After starting second on the grid, Hamilton grabbed the lead from title rival Verstappen off the line into Turn 1. But the Dutchman retook the lead after the pitstops had played out, leaving Hamilton to chase down the Red Bull as the laps ticked down towards the chequered flag.
RACE HIGHLIGHTS: See all the key moments from the US Grand Prix in Austin
He eventually finished just 1.333s behind Verstappen, slipping to 12 points behind him in the championship.
“We gave it everything we had, and they were just quicker than us this weekend, for whatever reason,” he said afterwards. “I can’t pinpoint it. It looked like they had just a better rear end, a little bit less sliding than we had.”
And what began as a race that Hamilton seemed destined to win after his electric start, the Briton leading more laps today than in the previous nine races combined, the defending champion ended up seeing his hopes deflate thanks to Red Bull’s superior pace, as he explained.
“Yes, a great start, and the goal was to get in the lead. Finally got a good start – I have not had as good a start in a long time – and I was really happy with it,” said Hamilton, “and it was just about staying clean and coming out ahead and holding onto it. It felt good at the time to get into the lead; I thought: 'This is step one', and as I said, they were just too quick.”
RACE START REPLAY: Hamilton grabs the lead from pole-sitter Verstappen into Turn 1 at COTA
Looking forward to the next races in Mexico and Brazil, Hamilton said Mercedes may well be on the back foot compared to Red Bull – which could make for a tough brace of Grands Prix.
“I don’t know what we could have done differently [today]. I’ll have to sit down and talk with the team afterwards – I think the team did a great job today and it was the best… we had. We go into at least the next two tracks, which are very strong circuits for Red Bull – so that’s going to be tough, for sure,” he said at Austin.