Formula 1 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) did not have the right tires and a “washed out” finish against Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton had never come so close to victory this year. At Le Castellet, on July 24, he signed his best performance in 2022 with a second place, again benefiting from the elimination of a Ferrari. But he had never been able to threaten the winner, Max Verstappen (Red Bull).

Sunday, in Austin, the Briton did much better than that. On the same vintage he was going to win. The save that kept the Dutch pendant 11″1 ahead of the Red Bull garage, on lap 36 of the 56 United States Grand Prix, gave him almost a four-second lead over his 2021 rival , and anchored in him this conviction that his day had finally arrived.

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From the 41st to the 49th passages, he led on his favorite circuit of the Americas. He moved his “hard” tires as fast as he could, ahead of the #1 RB18 on “medium”. But the fight was unbalanced and he acted on it by yielding to the braking of n°12, on the 50th of the 56 laps. “Great driving. Absolutely splendid. Maybe next time…”his engineer, Peter Bonington, told him on his re-entry lap. “I gave it my all. I gave it my all. Very good pit stop. Nice strategy. So close, so far. Let’s keep giving everything…”he replied, without energy.

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) at the 2022 United States Grand Prix

Credit: Getty Images

A 53 point Ferrari

On Sunday, the seven-time world champion well deserved the 18 points which give him hope of being able to finish in fourth place in the world championship. Far behind Max Verstappen, at a distance from Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), but in the match with his teammate George Russell and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), author of the bad operation of the day following the retirement caused by the second pilot of the Greys.

In short, Lewis Hamilton still has something to look for, he who has only been beaten twice by his pit neighbor in his entire career, in 2011 by Jenson Button at McLaren and in 2016 by Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. Better still, the final evolutions reduced to his W13, although targeted on the 2023 car, convinced him that a victory was still possible for him during the last stages of the World Cup, in Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi. Even better: fifth place secured by George Russell, with the point for the fastest lap, a Mercedes close to 53 points behind Ferrari at the Constructors’ World Cup, three races from the end. A gap that leaves the hope of beating Maranello on the wire, which was a small feat for the Brackley team.

Painful but logical

“I’m washed outdid not hide the English on arrival. It was amazing to be in the lead, but the car was demanding today. We came here with evolutions and we closed the gap a bit. It was so close, and I did everything I could to try to stay ahead, but Red Bull was just a little too fast. I think with DRS they are 35 km/h faster than us. If we are behind them, we are something like 22 km/h faster with the DRS in the back straight. So he came back from very, very far. But even without the DRS, I think they still picked something like 8 km/h ahead of us. So we lost a lot of time on the straight, probably 0.4 at least per lap.

“There are a lot of positives in this race, as a team: we had a great pit stop and followed a good performance strategy”he added.

“In a way, it’s painful to lose this victoryhe specified to Canal+. But being realistic, we didn’t have the rhythm of the Red Bulls. We never had it this year and that’s why they are world champions. So for us to be in this battle was remarkable. So there are a lot of positives to take away. I tried to be consistent up front.”

Hamilton had no “medium” to fight

“I’m also happy with my performance and it shows that when we’ve had a competitive car, I can bring back a result.he insisted. We’re going to give it our all in the last three classes and it’s going to come eventually.”

“Lewis had a good race and gave it his all. He had a tire deficit on the ‘hard’ because he just didn’t have a ‘medium’ to choose from and hanging on to a potential win seemed doable at this point, but once Max got past Charles and he couldn’t fight back, it was just a matter of time.”explained Toto Wolff, team manager.

“It was a difficult afternoon for meadmitted on his side George Russell. It’s very unfortunate how things went at the start because I don’t want to be in a position where I’m contributing to another driver having to retire.”

“The car was not easy”

“The team at the factory are doing a great job of continuing to update the car, trying to make it a bit lighter and understanding what we need to work on for next year; and that’s where that we are currently focusingrecalled the young Englishman. Obviously I want to get back on the podium, because the last time seems like an eternity (Editor’s note: Monza, there are three courses). We had such good form, but the last two classes didn’t go well in terms of personal performance. Really fighting for wins is always our goal.”

“It’s undeniable, Red Bull is still ahead of us, but I think we’re getting closer to them and to Ferrari, and that’s a positive result for us.”added Toto Wolff. “The speed was decent but the car wasn’t easy and that’s an area we understand a bit better compared to a few races yet”said Andrew Shovlin, the chief operating engineer.

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