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"I gave it everything," says Hamilton

NEWS STORY
24/10/2021

Aware of the massive step forward taken by Red Bull overnight, Lewis Hamilton gave qualifying his best shot, but it was not to be.

On Friday, despite having dominated the opening session, Lewis Hamilton admitted that Mercedes had lost ground to Red Bull.

As ever, we took it with a pinch of salt because, all too often, we've heard the same cry only for the German team to go out and blitz the opposition for the remainder of the weekend.

However, overnight on Friday, the engineers in Texas, backed up by their counterparts in Milton Keynes, where Sebastien Buemi was on all-night simulator duty, the Austrian team did indeed take a significant step forward.

So much so, that Red Bull start today's Grand Prix first and third on the grid, sandwiching the lone Mercedes of the world champion, his 'wingman', consigned to the fifth row following an engine penalty.

Aware of the Red Bull's improved pace, but no doubt aware of the hybrid elephant in the room that is the increasing concern over the reliability of the Mercedes power unit, Hamilton did his best in qualifying but it was not to be.

"I gave it everything today," said at the end of a thrilling qualifying session. "I was happy with my last lap.

"Of course there's always areas that we can improve," he added, "but I think that was pretty much everything we had.

"It was a bit of a struggle through qualifying," he admitted. "I think from FP1 onwards we kind of fell back a little bit.

"Those guys were incredibly quick through qualifying," he continued, looking across to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, "so I was happy with my last lap.

"It's an amazing circuit, but it's got even bumpier and trickier to ride through," he added. "It's got more character with those bumps, so I hope they don't change too much.

"Just knowing that in FP1, things were going well and then you have times taken away from you, then you make adjustments, all these changes you're making along the way, and the wind is shifting, it makes it tricky to keep the car..." he sighed, "and we're generally struggling with the car, it's been moving around a lot, so it was definitely tough to get even that second place time at the end.

"Of course there's always areas we can improve but I think that was pretty much everything we had and so we'll just work as hard as we can tomorrow.

"There's good positioning tomorrow and hopefully it will be a good race down to Turn 1. My mind-set is to win the race and to give these guys the best racing they've seen."

Check out our Saturday gallery from COTA, here.

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