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United States GP: Qualifying team notes - Mercedes

NEWS STORY
23/10/2021

Lewis will start the United States Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after qualifying P2, while Valtteri was fourth quickest.

All of the drivers and teams had to contend with scorching temperatures and windy conditions throughout qualifying, as well as a surprise threat of rain towards the end of Q3.

A strong final lap in the closing minutes of Q3 put Lewis on provisional pole, only to lose out to Max Verstappen by 0.209s.

Valtteri finished P4 and will start the race in ninth place due to his five-place grid penalty for changing his ICE.

Both Lewis and Valtteri will start the race on the Medium tyre compound.

Lewis Hamilton: I gave it everything today. It was a bit of a struggle through qualifying, Red Bull were incredibly quick and from first practice onwards we seemed to fall back slightly in comparison. I was happy with how my last lap in Q3 turned out, of course there are always areas to improve but I think that was pretty much the maximum. The crowd has been absolutely amazing here, so my mindset tomorrow is to win the race and give them all a great show. We'll have to work as hard as we can, but we're starting in a good position and I'll give it my best into Turn 1 as there is an opportunity there. Tyre wear is really aggressive here so it will be interesting to see what strategy we can do and that will present opportunities along the way, as well. So today wasn't my favourite day but we can fight tomorrow.

Valtteri Bottas: That wasn't the result I was looking for today. Red Bull definitely had the upper hand and seemed to make more of a step from yesterday. My first run in Q3 was OK, but the last sector didn't feel great. And then I tried to have a clean lap on the second run, but the front locking and understeer was even worse. So, I lost some time and wasn't able to improve. I'll be starting ninth because of the penalty but I think our race pace was strong, quite similar to Red Bull, and I'll hopefully have a pace advantage to the cars directly ahead of me. Strategy will also be key tomorrow, so I'm sure we can move up the field and fight for good points. It's a long race and I'm always optimistic.

Andrew Shovlin: We didn't have the pace for pole today, but it was a good effort by Lewis to get the car onto the front row. Unfortunately, Valtteri has to serve the penalty for his ICE change, which will drop him to 9th, but at least it is a circuit where you can overtake. So hopefully we can recover well. Strategically it's going to be a bit harder with Red Bull having both cars up at the sharp end of the grid but ultimately, it's going to come down to who's quicker and who's easiest on the tyres. We're happy with our start tyre choice and we've got new Mediums and Hards with both drivers, so there are plenty of strategy options for us to look at this evening. The wind is also making it tricky out there and the track is very tough on the tyres so it's going to be challenging, but that can also create opportunity so let's see how we fare tomorrow.

Check out our Saturday gallery from COTA, here.

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