Lewis Hamilton looked on course for an unlikely, and long-awaited, win at the US GP on Sunday when he was propelled into the lead by Max Verstappen’s lengthy pit-stop, although Red Bull’s double world champion fought back to triumph; “I gave it absolutely everything,” said the Briton
Last Updated: 24/10/22 12:45am
Lewis Hamilton sent a defiant message after agonisingly missing out on his first victory of the season at the United States GP, insisting he is “still here” and ready to take Mercedes “to the top” once they can close in on Red Bull.
Hamilton looked on course for an unlikely, and long-awaited, win on Sunday when he was propelled into the lead by Max Verstappen’s lengthy pit-stop, although Red Bull’s double world champion fought back to first overtake Charles Leclerc into Turn 12, and then Hamilton with six laps remaining.
The seven-time world champion was ultimately a sitting duck given Red Bull’s tyre and pace advantage – particularly on the straights – over Mercedes, and Sunday saw Verstappen equal the record for most wins in a season (13), and Red Bull clinching their fifth constructors’ championship.
Hamilton, though, was taking plenty of positives from just having a chance of a win, and made a bullish statement on a Formula 1 fightback.
“We were closer today so really proud of everybody,” he told Sky Sports F1. “Sorry I couldn’t get the win, I gave it absolutely everything.
“What I will take from today is we had good pace – and I am still here. I know that when they build the car, I will take it to the top, so we just have to keep on working.”
Hamilton added that leading the race late on “felt amazing” and that “for a second I thought maybe we might be able to hold onto it”.
But he explained: “I could see that he was closing a second a lap and I couldn’t really answer to it for a while.
“Then he came from so far back on the straight, I think they are 10kph faster than us on the straight normally anyway and at the end of the straight my mirrors were vibrating so much I couldn’t see where he was so it was difficult to defend.”
Hamilton, meanwhile, is running out of time to extend his F1 record of winning a race in all of his seasons – 16 to date. There are three races left in 2022, in Mexico this weekend, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
“With everything that happened last year in the last race and then everything that has been happening recently with all the news and everything… a win would be a huge triumph for us all and hugely rewarding,” he said.
He did, however, note in the press conference that Mercedes had to be “realistic” with their expectations.
Can Hamilton take Merc to the top? | ‘We understand where we get it wrong’
Hamilton’s 2023 title vow that he will take Mercedes “to the top” depends on his team’s work over the winter, with the Silver Arrows set to change the ‘DNA’ of their car which has massively underperformed in 2022.
Team boss Toto Wolff is optimistic of their chances
“We understand more now where we got it wrong with the car,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“You can almost trace it back to a silly decision last October when we thought we could run the car on the deck but you can’t.
“So, it is small little hamster steps and as long as the trajectory is going up then I think we are on a good path.
“We will have 14 per cent more wind tunnel time than Red Bull next year and that should reel them in a bit.”
He added on the US GP: “The pace was maybe two tenths off and that is what we were missing at the end but credit to Red Bull, they have done a good job all year and it was really strong so them winning the constructors’ championship today is what they deserve.”