Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has shared his thoughts on the close duel with his arch-enemy Max Verstappen at the end of the 2022 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, during a private chat with Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc in the cool-down room at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.
The British driver claimed he tried “so hard” to defend against the Red Bull man, after the two were involved in an intense fight for the win in the final part of the United States Grand Prix. Max Verstappen seemed to be on his way to another comfortable win, but a slow pitstop midway through the race made him lose more than ten seconds, as he returned to the track in third place, behind the F1-75 of Charles Leclerc.
The 2022 F1 world champion expressed his anger over the team radio for what happened in the pits, but the speed of his Red Bull RB18 was still good enough to allow him a dramatic comeback drive at COTA. Charles Leclerc tried everything possible to defend against the Dutchman, but the high tyre degradation once again prevented him for fighting for the race victory.
Max Verstappen was then clear to chase down Lewis Hamilton, who was running in the hard tyre: eventually the Red Bull driver got the help of DRS to help him pass his former world championship rival, who tried to fight back in the closing moments of the US GP and kept pointing out that Verstappen had seemingly breached the track limits rule.
At the end of the Austin event, Lewis Hamilton spoke with Charles Leclerc about his fight with the Dutchman and was heard saying: “I tried so hard to stay ahead and beat him.” The Ferrari driver then asked Hamilton about his Maranello teammate: “What happened to Carlos [Sainz]?” before the Mercedes man replied: “George [Russell] took him out.”
Carlos Sainz was forced to retire after starting from pole position, due to being hit by George Russell at the first corner.
Cool Down Room Austin GP :
— see video above —
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