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Formula 1 Mexico City GP

What Hamilton learned from following Verstappen in F1 US GP

Lewis Hamilton has elaborated on what he learned following Max Verstappen’s Red Bull in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, noting it looked easier to drive than his Mercedes.

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

Hamilton finished 2.2 seconds behind Verstappen in last Sunday's main race in Austin, prior to being disqualified for an excessively worn plank.

After both the sprint race and the grand prix in the US, Hamilton felt it had been a learning experience to see the RB19 at close quarters, and that he would “download” his thoughts to his Mercedes team.

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

“I think the only places that we are probably on a level with them is in the low speed,” he said.

“Our car has generally been good in low speed over the past couple years. But the higher the speed you go, the more the separation of them. That's why you see them so quick at places like Suzuka.

“It was a good experience, it's always a good experience to be behind them. Because you can see firsthand, where the car is stronger.

“They can get on the power earlier than most of us. The car moves a lot less, the degradation of the rear tyres is much, much easier to manage. I've been in that position before, where I've had a much more stable rear end.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 2nd position, with his trophy

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 2nd position, with his trophy

“It's so much easier to keep the temperatures lower on the tyre and go longer. They've just done a better job in that space where they have a more stable platform to which it's much, much easier to drive for Max.

“So that's why, when you see him get out the car, he is not even sweating! He generally isn't sweating.”

Hamilton believes he could have beaten Verstappen and won the US GP race, on the road at least, with an optimum strategy.

“We were very close, I could almost taste it in the last one,” he said. “I think had we got the strategy right, I would have been a lot closer to having that win.

“But doesn't matter anyway, because we would have been thrown out. I can't really recall how much I miss it. It's been a couple of years.

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“I've enjoyed the process and the journey that I've been on with my team in terms of trying to get the car back to where we need to be, naturally at the end of the season, you're going to get a bit closer when they're standing still, they're not developing, they haven't been developing for ages.

“So it's inevitable, we're going to catch them, we were going to catch them at some point. The key is to try and make sure we're not 1.5 seconds slower at race one again.”

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

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

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

Hamilton is reluctant to predict where Mercedes might have the best chance to win over the four remaining races.

“I definitely think it's always difficult to be able to say: 'Hey, it's going to be good here, it’s going be good there',” he noted. “But definitely we have taken a step forwards. Over these next four races, I can't predict which one we're going to be closer, which one we may or may not be further away.

“I think we were close here last year. So hopefully we will be a little bit closer maybe this weekend – if we get the strategy right this weekend maybe we can really take the fight to them.

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

“Then when we go to Abu Dhabi, I think the gap gets bigger again. So it's these next two that I think we have our best chance.”

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