MX23RW : Wednesday, December 19 08:14:34

Lewis Hamilton refuses to blame Mercedes for US Grand Prix issues

The Briton finished third in Austin and failed to wrap up the F1 title.

Lewis Hamilton is refusing to put the blame on Mercedes after he revealed a car problem contributed to his failure in sewing up the world championship in America.

The 33-year-old needs just five points to close out the title, meaning seventh in Mexico City on Sunday will be enough to get the job done with two rounds to spare.

After he secured a brilliant pole, it was expected that Hamilton would be crowned champion in Austin, Texas, but a strategy error by Mercedes denied him a shot at victory.

The water pump on Hamilton’s car was also replaced before the race after a leak had been identified on team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ machinery.

A set-up issue, when his vehicle was hastily put back together, also came to light after the race, with the Briton saying it affected his performance.

Hamilton, who will watch NFL side Atlanta Falcons take on the New York Giants on Monday night, has asked to be kept in the loop of Mercedes’ analysis by his race engineer, Pete Bonnington, before he heads south of the border.

“You saw that the car was in a million pieces on Sunday morning, so that was not ideal for the race,” Hamilton said.

“If we didn’t have a morning like that our race outcome would have potentially been different.

“We had another problem which cost us time and the issue I was having with the car was the biggest outlier. Given I had this deficit I was having to push that much harder to recover the time I lost. 

“I will get an email update from Bono and then we will sit down on Thursday in Mexico and go through it all.

“No one is to blame. We take the blame together and we give ourselves a kick up the backside and realise that we have got to keep working and keep pushing. We will come back stronger.”

Despite his troubles in a thrilling race at the Circuit of the Americas, Hamilton remains firmly in the box seat to emulate Juan Manuel Fangio with his fifth championship this coming weekend.

Indeed, Hamilton has retired just once this season, and has not finished lower than fifth in the 17 races he has completed. Mexico City was also the venue of his fourth title triumph last term.

“I honestly didn’t have any care about winning the world championship in America,” he added. “There were a lot of questions about it, but I hadn’t given it a single thought.

“I was here solely to win, and my goal was to win these last four races of the season.

“There were a lot of things that went against us. For me, there are frustrations because I want to win the title for the team.

“Collectively, we have lost some performance to Ferrari, but we think we know where that performance is, and we still have three races to go.”


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