Lewis Hamilton revealed after finishing second in Saturday’s sprint race at the United States Grand Prix that he used his position on the circuit to “watch” where Red Bull and Max Verstappen were strong, something he found very interesting.
The Mercedes driver qualified in third for the sprint race and actually made a poor start, with it having looked like he was going to be overtaken by Lando Norris.
However, Hamilton recovered from his disappointing start off the line by being “quite aggressive” into the opening corner, where he opted to swoop around the outside.
This worked a treat for the 38-year-old, who was able to overtake Charles Leclerc for second on the exit of the opening corner.
He had gone beyond the white line narrowly to get the move done, but this wasn’t investigated by the stewards given that it was the opening lap and the first corner of the race.
Hamilton quickly settled into the 19-lap sprint and kept within touching distance of leader Max Verstappen, with the gap having sat just under a second for the first few laps.
Once Verstappen managed to get Hamilton outside of his DRS window though, it ended up being a quiet 30 minutes or so for the 103-time race winner.
The Stevenage-born driver ended up finishing just over nine seconds behind the three-time World Champion, who’ll be fighting through from sixth on the grid on Sunday.
Hamilton will start the main race from third once again, meaning he will likely find himself battling Verstappen at some point.
Sitting behind the Dutchman during the sprint race was actually very beneficial for the veteran, as he allowed him to see where the W15 is strong or weak compared to the RB19.
Lessons have certainly been learnt now for the main race, something which could increase Hamilton’s chances of winning his first race since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
“I didn’t get that great a start but obviously quite aggressive Turn One and had a good battle with Charles,” Hamilton said, as reported by Motorsport Week.
“But then, after that, yeah, the car was feeling pretty good so I was just attacking from the get-go, trying to get as close as I could while the car felt like that.
“I just couldn’t bridge the gap enough to Max. And then once I was out of his DRS, then he just started eking away and cruising.
“So, it was a really… not that I haven’t seen it already this year, we haven’t seen it, obviously, but it was a good position to be able to watch what the Red Bull’s car what Max’s car was doing, how it was behaving.
“So, I got to watch for a while and see where they are particularly strong, which we can obviously see that on GPS or something like that, but still, least to know where we are, if there’s any where we’re stronger, and where we’re weaker, so I can download that to my team.
“And at the end, I think everyone’s tyres was struggling towards the end of that stint.”