What Hamilton learned from following Verstappen at the F1 US GP

What Hamilton learned from following Verstappen at the F1 US GP

Hamilton finished the main race by 2.2 seconds in Austin last Sunday, before being disqualified for excessive skid wear.

After the sprint races and the US Grand Prix, Hamilton felt that seeing the RB19 up close was a learning experience, and that he would “download” his ideas to his Mercedes team.

When asked in Mexico City on Thursday what he had learned, he gave more insight into the strengths of the dominant Red Bull car.

“I think the only places we’re probably on par with them is at low speed,” he said.

“Our car has generally been good at low speeds over the last couple of years. But the faster you go, the more separation there is. That’s why you see them so fast at places like Suzuka.

It was a good experience, and it’s always good to be behind them. Because you can see directly where the car is stronger.

“They can get power earlier than most of us. The car moves much less, and the rear tire sag is much easier to manage. I’ve been in this situation before, where my rear was much more stable.”

Photography: Steve Etherington/ Motorsport pictures

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, first place, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, second place, with his trophy

“It’s a lot easier to keep the temps down on the tire and drive longer. They’ve just done a better job in that area where they have a more stable platform that’s much easier to drive on for Max.

“That’s why, when you see him get out of the car, he doesn’t even sweat! In general, he doesn’t sweat.”

Hamilton believes he could have beaten Verstappen and won the US Grand Prix, on the road at least, with perfect strategy.

He said: “We were very close, I almost tasted it in the last match.” “I think if we had the right strategy, we would have been a lot closer to getting this win.

“But it doesn’t matter anyway, because we’ll be kicked out. I can’t really remember how much I miss her. It’s been a few years.”

“I’ve enjoyed the process and the journey I’ve had with my team in terms of trying to get the car back to where we need to be. Of course, at the end of the season, you get a little closer when they’re flat, they’re not improving, they haven’t improved for a long time.

“So, inevitably, we were going to catch them, we were going to catch them at some stage. The key is to try to make sure we’re not 1.5 seconds slower in the first race again.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photography: Mark Sutton / Motorsport pictures

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Hamilton is reluctant to predict where Mercedes might have the best chance of winning during the remaining four races.

“I definitely think it’s always difficult to be able to say: Hey, it’s going to be good here, it’s going to be good there,” he noted. “But we have definitely taken a step forward. Over these next four races, I cannot predict which race we will be closer to, and which race we may or may not be further away from.

“I think we were close here last year. So hopefully we’ll be a little closer maybe this weekend – if we get the strategy right this weekend, maybe we can really do battle with them.”

“Then Brazil was a great circuit for us last year. If it turns out that we are closer again there, again, there are two great, strong races for us.

“Then when we go to Abu Dhabi, I think the gap widens again. So I think these next two are our best chance.

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