Lewis Hamilton says he will lead Mercedes to the top of the Formula 1 grid when the car is ready and competitive for wins and titles, adding that 2nd place in the constructors this year would be indescribable because of everything that happened.
After Verstappen suffered a slow pit stop, it allowed Hamilton to take the race lead at the US GP, but he was unable to fend off the Red Bull driver, who overtook him towards the end of the race to finish 1st.
Hamilton, who saw Mercedes’ package of upgrades delivered in Austin as key to boosting performance, admitted his disappointment at missing out on a first win of the season but saw it as a clear sign of progress for his team to gain motivation ahead of preparations for 2023.
“What I’ll take from today is that we had a good pace, I’m still here, and I know I’ll take it to the top when they build the car. We just have to keep working,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.
“I’d like to start by saying a big thank you to my team, everyone at the factory who work so hard, and it’s been such a tough year for everyone.”
“We came here with upgrades, they worked so hard to make improvements and it really paid off, so we were closer today. I’m really proud of everything. I’m sorry, I couldn’t win, I gave absolutely everything,” he added.
Hamilton explains that it will always be difficult to defend against Verstappen due to Red Bull’s superior speed on the straight, but he believes his second and team-mate George Russell’s fifth is a good points bite in Ferrari’s chase for second in the constructors’ championship.
“We were in the lead and I could see that he [Verstappen] was closing the lead by a second per lap and I couldn’t respond to that,” he assures.
“He came fast on the straight, I think they were a lot, about 10 km/h faster than us on the straight, and at the end of the straight our mirrors were vibrating so much that I couldn’t see where he was, so it was difficult to defend.”
“I can’t put into words how much it would mean to the team [to be second in the constructors’ standings], especially with everything that’s going on and everything that happened in the last race last year, what happened this year in terms of the performance of our car and what happened with everything news and everything.”
“So a win would be a great triumph for all of us and a great reward,” concluded Hamilton.