Lewis Hamilton believes he could have taken United States GP victory from Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton finished the 2023 US GP just 2.2 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen

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Lewis Hamilton came tantalizingly close to victory at the 2023 United States Grand Prix as Max Verstappen beat him to the line by two seconds, and the 103-time race winner is more than aware of how close he came.

In a race of fine margins, a lock up into Turn 1 and slow pit stops cost the British driver a run at his first victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP, in what is becoming a recurring theme of narrowly missing out since that race.

The 2023 US GP now joins the 2022 Spanish GP, 2022 British GP, 2022 Hungarian GP, 2022 Dutch GP, 2022 US GP, 2022 Brazilian GP and 2023 Singapore GP as eight races where Hamilton was in with a good shot of winning but came up short for lots of compounding little reasons across the weekend.

“Yes!”,” Hamilton emphatically said to media when asked if he could have won the race. “I do think we were in a position to fight with Max.

“I think we made our lives a lot harder today than it needed probably needed to be. I think it was going to be hard anyways because these two [Verstappen and Lando Norris] are very quick.

“I think overall, our start this weekend, normally we have really great starts, but we struggled with the starts as we can so we lost ground more often than not.

“I think in one of the pit stops might have been a bit long which then made it harder for the guys and stuff wasn’t that great overall.”

Where was the 2023 US GP lost?

Mercedes tried to extend their first tyre stint, whilst the cars around them pitted earlier and gained track position, letting seconds slip away.

During this period, Hamilton locked up into Turn 1 and lost three seconds to Verstappen on that lap as he struggled to cling on to his old medium tyres whilst his rival ran fresh hards.

When he did pit later at the end of that lap, Mercedes serviced his W14 with a 3.8 second stop which lost him around another second to the Red Bull racer before a 3.4 second stop towards the end of the race lost Hamilon even more net time.

The final factor in the Dutchman clinging on to the win might have been as Hamilton attempted to overtake Lando Norris, with the McLaren driver successfully defending his position for 11 corners which potentially cost him the time he needed to get into Verstappen‘s DRS range.

The result was that the Formula 1 legend saw the Red Bull cross the line, practically in touching distance, and he doubled down on his upbeat radio message, as Mercedes‘ new floor proved a success, after the race.

“The positives are that we were, at points, matching them for pace,” Hamilton continued. “To be only two seconds back afterwards at the end of the race, I think is a good sign.

“I mean second is great and to come in this weekend and actually have real strength, it’s a solid second, it’s not just making second, it was a solid second. 

“So I feel really positive because we still got a few races up ahead. And I don’t know how the car’s going to be in these next races.

“But maybe if we’re in a position like this and we get the strategy right and get the pit stops right. Maybe we’ll be right in their tails and we can have some good racing. So I’m excited.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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