Lewis Hamilton said he has given his all in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix after falling just short of beating Sebastian Vettel to top spot at the Circuit of the Americas.
The McLaren man produced a stunning lap top get closer to Vettel than many had expected after the German had dominated practice and the first two stages of the qualifying session – with the pair ending up split by just a tenth of a second.
Admitting he had been right on the ragged edge, Hamilton said he was pleased to be on the front of the grid even though he is now set to start on the dirty side of the circuit – something that has been a cause for concern for drivers ahead of the race.
“I came here this weekend to push almost beyond the limit – and that approach seemed to work in qualifying,” he said. “I gave it everything
“I did two consecutive quick-laps – and, on my second lap, having put in a 'banker', I didn't really have anything to lose, so I went almost over the limit, really on the edge, but the car still seemed to handle it well. On the final corner, I gained a little time on the entry but lost it on the exit. I got every corner perfect, I reckon, except for that last one.
“Looking ahead to tomorrow, Turn One is very wide and there'll be lots of opportunities for drivers to make or lose positions. My side of the grid will be a bit dirty, because it's off-line, so I hope the authorities will clean the circuit on that side of the track so that the drivers on the inside will have a chance to at least keep their positions at the start.”
Should Hamilton manage to beat Vettel to victory, it would give him a second straight US win after his success in the final race at Indianapolis back in 2007 and team boss Martin Whitmarsh said he was sure the Briton could challenge.
“In the end, Lewis just
failed to score what would have been his 26th pole position in Formula 1, but it was mighty close,” he said. “He'll be tremendously determined to go one better tomorrow than he did today. In a nutshell, he'll be aiming to win. He did a good long run yesterday, so, although we never under-estimate our opposition, there's no reason why he shouldn't do just that.”