Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes have improved from Friday’s sessions and will able to compete with the leaders in both Saturday’s sprint and Sunday’s grand prix.
Mercedes have spent the last few rounds in touching distance of those at the front, but have been unable to maximise their performances. Following their disastrous race in Qatar, where Hamilton collided with his team-mate George Russell, the seven-time champion has fought back in style in Austin.
Speaking after the shootout, the 38-year-old was honest about their chances but was impressed by how close the margin was to Verstappen and his RB19.
“I think it was a little closer than yesterday, so definitely an improvement. We had a tough session, particularly on the mediums," he told Sky Sports.
“For us to be this close in Austin, just shows that we are progressing as a team and we can really take that as a real positive and I think we’re in a good position in both races to apply some pressure to the leaders. It’s all very close, so we’ll wait and see. I’m hoping I can hold on to it.”
For the sprint, Mercedes will start third and eleventh after Russell was handed a three-place grid-drop for impeding the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc early on in the shootout.
Then for Sunday, Mercedes will start third and fifth as they aim to outperform both McLaren and Ferrari in their battle for second in the constructors’ championship.
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