Hamilton warns Verstappen: ‘I’m still here and I will take Merc to the top’

Lewis Hamilton has sent a message to F1 rival Max Verstappen vowing to “take it to the top” once Mercedes provide him with a more competitive car.
2nd place Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
2nd place Lewis Hamilton (GBR)

Verstappen fought back from a slow pit stop to deny Hamilton his first win of F1 2022 with a late overtake to clinch victory in a thrilling United States Grand Prix. 

Hamilton managed to stick with Verstappen who led the race until a wheel gun failure resulted in an 11-second pit stop on Lap 35, dropping him behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc

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Verstappen used fresher, medium tyres to charge past Leclerc, before he chased down Hamilton and made the race-winning pass on Lap 51. 

“I think what I’ll take from today is that we had good pace,” Hamilton told Sky after the pulsating race. 

"I’m still here and I know that when they [Mercedes] build the car, I will take it to the top. So we’ve just got to keep working.” 

Hamilton praised his Mercedes team for bringing upgrades that helped him challenge for his first win since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but acknowledged his car still holds a significant deficit to the RB18 in a straightline, ultimately leaving him powerless to keep Verstappen at bay. 

Hamilton warns Verstappen: ‘I’m still here and I will take Merc to the top’

“A big thank you to the team and everyone back at the factory who is working so hard,” the seven-time world champion said. “It’s been such a trying year for everyone. 

“We came here with upgrades, they worked so hard to bring those upgrades in, and it really had an effect. We were closer today, so I’m really proud of everybody. 

"I’m sorry I couldn’t get the win, I gave it absolutely everything. Obviously we were in that lead and I could see he was closing a second a lap and I couldn’t really answer to it for a while. 

“He came from so far back on the straight, I think they are like 10kmh faster than us normally on the straight anyway, and at the end of the straight my mirrors are vibrating so much I couldn’t see where he was it was difficult to defend.”

After outscoring Ferrari in Austin, Mercedes are 53 points adrift of second place in the constructors’ championship with three races remaining. 

Asked what it means to be able to fight for a win and second place in the constructors’ after such a difficult season, Hamilton said: “I can’t put into words how much it would mean to the team. 

"Especially with everything that has gone on and everything that happened in the last race last year, then what’s happened this year in terms of our performance and what’s happening with all the news and everything. 

“To get a win would be a huge triumph for us all and hugely rewarding.”

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