They were quicker all weekend: Lewis Hamilton on Red Bull after close US GP

When the weekend began, the Mercedes drivers appeared to be in good shape, lapping nearly a second faster than Verstappen in first practise.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton during the US Grand Prix. (Image: Twitter/F1)

Lewis Hamilton believes Red Bull’s superior performance in hotter conditions was the difference in the United States Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver led the opening stages of yesterday’s race but was unable to pull ahead of Max Verstappen. Verstappen got ahead of him by making an earlier first pit stop, and despite closing on his rival at the end of the race, Hamilton was unable to make a pass. Hamilton appeared to outperform the Red Bull after switching from medium to hard compound tyres during his first pit stop. Over the final stint, he cut Verstappen’s lead from 8.8 seconds to less than a second, while his tyres were eight laps fresher than his rival’s.


However, Hamilton believes Red Bull had a performance advantage over Mercedes across all the compounds. “I think they were quicker all weekend, on all tyres today,” he said. “Just in the heat, I think the real strength has shone through this weekend, a bit like it has in other places, like Bahrain, this year. So I did the best I could with what we had,” the seven-time world champion added.

When the weekend began, Mercedes appeared to be in good shape, lapping nearly a second faster than Verstappen in first practise. Toto Wolff, team principal, stated that the team later modified its car to avoid being “massacred” by the bumps at Circuit of the Americas.

But the alterations didn’t made a significant difference to the car, according to Hamilton. “There wasn’t a big problem,” he said. “It was a bumpy circuit, first of all, but we ended up going back to where we started the weekend so there was no problem.”

During the first practise session, the team also confirmed that its engines were running in a higher engine mode. Hamilton was pleased with his start from second on the grid, when he passed Verstappen into turn one, but he believes Red Bull will be too strong to beat in Austin. “I had a great start. The goal was to get in the lead and I finally got a good start – I’ve not had as good a start as that for a long time so I was really happy with it,” he said.

“Then 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 ‘okay, this is step one’ but, as I said, they were just too quick,” the Englishman concluded.


In the 2021 United States Grand Prix, Verstappen defeated title rival Hamilton in a thrilling duel, with Red Bull gaining ground on Mercedes thanks to Perez’s podium finish – and the championship leader extending his lead to 12 points. From second on the grid, Hamilton had a fantastic start off the line in Austin, and despite Verstappen squeezing him as far down the inside as possible in the run-up to Turn 1, the Briton gained P1 from the Dutchman to lead going into the esses. Starting third, Perez trailed and began to lose hundredths, then tenths to the leaders.

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