After losing ground in the Formula One title battle, Lewis Hamilton says he’s not sure what Mercedes could have done better to beat Red Bull in Austin on Sunday.
On the first lap, Hamilton seized the lead from title rival Max Verstappen at Turn 1, but was undercut after Red Bull chose to bring the Dutchman in first for an early pit stop.
Mercedes extended Hamilton’s first and second stints in an attempt to generate a tyre delta that would allow him to make up time lost to Verstappen.
After his second pit stop, Hamilton was over eight seconds behind the RBR driver, but he used his fresher tyres to go over one second per lap faster at one point, closing the gap to less than two seconds.
However, Hamilton was unable to cut the gap enough in the final few laps to pass Verstappen, whose response insured that the gap remained stable and that he could win.
With five races remaining this season, Hamilton now trails Verstappen by 12 points in the drivers’ standings.
“It was a fun race,” Hamilton said. “We had a good start, and he seemed to be quite close throughout on the medium tyre. Then obviously they stopped extremely early, and just tried to offset myself after that.
“I was hoping that would give us a chance to fight late on, but I think track position was key today.”
Hamilton felt Red Bull had been “quicker on all tyres today,” and that their advantage in warmer conditions had “shone through this weekend.”
“I don’t know what we could have done differently,” Hamilton added. “I’ll sit down and talk with the team afterwards. I think the team did a great job today, and it was what we had.
“We’re going to at least the next two tracks which are very strong circuits for Red Bull, so it’s going to be tough for sure.”
Mercedes F1 head Toto Wolff did not believe the team could have pitted Hamilton as early as Verstappen, but he believed the team’s hard-tyre pace was strong enough to win the race.
“I think we could have won the race, of course, because we were in the lead and we had a very strong pace on the hard,” Wolff said.
“In a way, we need to retrace the weekend from Friday to Sunday, where did we misjudge, where did we get it wrong, what did we do well?
“There will be plenty of positive discussions about what to learn from this weekend.”
Several masks inspired by Formula One racing drivers are currently available at the following websites for a reasonable price: