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How Hamilton's stellar start may have cost him USGP win

How Hamilton's stellar start may have cost him USGP win

F1 News

How Hamilton's stellar start may have cost him USGP win

How Hamilton's stellar start may have cost him USGP win
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has conceded Lewis Hamilton's stellar start at the United States Grand Prix may have played into Red Bull's hands.

Hamilton started second at the Circuit of the Americas but got the jump on Max Verstappen into the uphill braking zone for turn one, taking the initiative and leading for the duration of the first stint.

Verstappen was pulled in for an early first stop whilst Hamilton extended his stint, ultimately being bested by the undercut of the Dutchman.

With a gap of three seconds, Verstappen and Red Bull again pulled the trigger early for the second pit stop of the race, covering off any undercut option for Mercedes to mirror the championship leader's earlier strategy.

Hamilton extended yet again to try and gain a tyre delta at the end of the race and despite cutting the gap from almost nine seconds down to one by the end of the race, the seven-time champion had no answer for his rival.

Asked how the Mercedes driver's start affected the strategy, Shovlin explained: "It changes your mindset.

"Whenever you are in P2, realistically the worst you are going to finish is P2, given the races will be won by Lewis or Max without other issues a lot of the time.

"But the big question is, could we have kept up? I am certain we couldn't have sat on their gearbox the way they did to us.

"Whether we could have kept even in undercut range is another matter. It comes down to that weak performance that we had on the medium tyres.

"If we weren't in the undercut range then Max could have just gone long and broken the race up into nice manageable chunks.

"As it happened, the best thing we could do when they undercut us was to try and create a bit of a tyre offset but ultimately, the race wasn't quite long enough to have that pay dividend."

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