Lewis Hamilton outlines expectations for United States GP: Victory on the cards for Mercedes?

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton qualified third for the 2023 US GP

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Lewis Hamilton remains unsure whether he can secure his first win of 2023 in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, despite his Mercedes looking very much on the pace in Austin.

Hamilton, who has won five times at the Circuit of the Americas, was in contention for pole position during Friday’s qualifying session, eventually placing third, just over a tenth slower behind pole man Charles Leclerc.

“Too early to say, none of us have done any long-running,” Hamilton told the press, when asked about his chances of winning Sunday’s US GP.

“Maybe with the Red Bull not in the top three, that makes it a closer battle because they’re often quite a bit ahead and just disappear into the distance. So, hopefully, the three of us can have a tight battle.

“[I’m] really grateful for the improvements the team have made with the car. Everyone’s worked so hard to bring some upgrades and for us to be this close to McLaren, Ferrari and even Red Bull.”

Aiming to catch Checo Perez

Hamilton’s third fastest time came in a Qualifying session where Red Bull had an unexpectedly poor session, with Max Verstappen only sixth on the grid after losing his pole lap due to track limits infringements.

Verstappen’s teammate and Hamilton’s chief challenger for second place in the drivers’ championship, Sergio Perez, didn’t fare much better with ninth fastest behind the two Alpine’s of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.

With Perez needing a robust opening stint in Sunday’s race, Hamilton could cut his 30-point deficit to the Mexican if he finishes ahead in both the GP and the Sprint.

“I don’t know whether or not we’ll catch Sergio, but given the difference of our cars throughout the season,” said Hamilton. “I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done. 

“We’ve just got to keep our heads down, keep fighting, keep pushing. There’s a lot of work to do, so it’s a race for development and who can get to the top of the mountain forest for next year.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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