Why did Hamilton lose to Verstappen at the US Grand Prix?


The US GP was a crucial stage for the championship battle between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

A win for Hamilton would have seen him overcome the six point deficit to sit ahead of his rival heading into the Mexican GP. Hamilton’s record at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) has been exceptional over the years, and he needed to win at Austin to keep the race very close.

However, it wasn’t meant to be for the seven-time world champion. Despite giving it everything he had and matching and beating Verstappen’s pace, timing, guts and fortune combined to seal the Dutchman’s victory. Hamilton finished second, taking the fastest lap point in the process, but the bragging rights went to Red Bull and their driver.

The result meant that Verstappen doubled his lead over Hamilton, sitting 12 points clear of the British Knight. While there are still five races to go, this may have been the race that firmly swung the momentum away from Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen is likely to increase his 12-point lead in the next two F1 races
Source: ibtimes.com

We gave it everything we could: Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton was exceptional from start to finish, making no mistakes and executing his team’s strategy without a hitch. He overcame a deficit and was within DRS range of Verstappen, who was defending for his life the last three laps.

However, a huge slice of luck presented itself to the Red Bull driver just as Hamilton was about to land the final blow. At a crucial moment, Verstappen got to use DRS, and he didn’t need a second invitation to use it.

After the race, Hamilton conceded that Red Bull were quicker on the day, but stated that the effort from him and his team could not have been higher.

“We gave it everything we had, and they were just quicker than us this weekend, for whatever reason,” he told the official F1 website post-race.

“I can’t pinpoint it. It looked like they had just a better rear end, a little bit less sliding than we had.

“We go into at least the next two tracks, which are very strong circuits for Red Bull – so that’s going to be tough, for sure.

“I am not thinking about it at the moment – be happy with the job I did today and live in the moment. We were not quick enough today, but I will look forward and take it one race at a time.

“There are two circuits that are strong for Red Bull, so we will just try and minimise how strong they can be compared to us and see if we can do a better job.”

Source: formula1.com

Lewis Hamilton’s best start and biggest loss

A shame, then, that Hamilton couldn’t take the win. Winning the race would have seen him at the top of the standings. Even if Verstappen won the next two races, Hamilton would be in prime position to swoop in and win the remaining ones for the championship.

It was all going very well for the Mercedes driver too. He was not on pole position for the race, having surrendered that to Verstappen on Saturday. However, all he needed was a better start to negate that advantage, and he got one.

As soon as the lights went out, Verstappen turned left to try and close his rival down. However, Hamilton’s better acceleration meant he got the inside line heading into Turn 1, and the swooping left-hander presented him with the opportunity to push for the lead.

He did just that, forcing Verstappen off the track and taking the lead heading out of Turn 1. It was the perfect start for Hamilton and Mercedes, and they were now in a good position to go for the win.

However, Red Bull’s double undercut and the fact that they also had Sergio Perez to help Verstappen out for strategies meant Hamilton was fighting a losing battle. Despite that, he rallied and came within spitting distance of overtaking Verstappen, only for him to hold him off thanks to DRS.

The Hamilton vs Verstappen battle you saw... and what was really going on  at the US GP - Motor Sport Magazine
Source: motrosportmagazine.com

Hamilton later rued his bad luck, and said that because everyone did their best, he had no regrets.

“Yes, a great start, and the goal was to get in the lead. Finally got a good start – I have not had as good a start in a long time – and I was really happy with it,” he said.  

“And 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, ‘This is step one,’ and as I said, they were just too quick.

“I don’t know what we could have done differently. I’ll have to sit down and talk with the team afterwards – I think the team did a great job today and it was the best we had.”

What should we expect from Lewis in the future?

If there is one driver you should never count out, it is Hamilton. Over the years, many have counted him out, and he has proven them wrong every single time. In this case, there are five races to go, so all he needs is just more points than Verstappen, no matter how they come.

Even a Hamilton win and Verstappen P3 would swing the momentum in his favour. Such is the intensity and standard of the rivalry. It is unlike anything we have ever seen in recent years.

However, Hamilton is a man who never gives up, and he will be fighting for the title until the last lap of the last race. He will look to squeeze every last drop of performance out of his car, win his eighth world championship, and create more history.

Verstappen on pole and Hamilton alongside in Texas | Reuters
Source: reuters.com

Read more: Verstappen furious with media after cringe-worthy Hamilton question – “Why do you bring this up!”

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