Podium finish for Lewis and the team on Sprint Saturday
- Lewis Hamilton finished second and George Russell eighth in Saturday’s F1 Sprint at the Circuit of the Americas.
- In the Sprint Shootout, both drivers struggled to find a happy balance with the car on the medium compound in SQ1 and SQ2; both making it through to SQ3 but not challenging the frontrunners.
- Once on the soft tyre though, the pace picked up and Lewis used a new set to finish P3, just 0.069s shy of pole position.
- George, with only used soft tyres available, ended up eighth quickest. A subsequent three-place grid penalty for blocking Leclerc in SQ1 left him lining up P11 for the F1 Sprint.
- At the start of the 19-lap race, both drivers made good progress with Lewis passing Leclerc for P2 and George gaining three position to vault up to eighth.
- George then overtook Piastri for P7 but was adjudged to have gained an unfair advantage in the process. A five-second penalty ultimately contributing to him finishing P8.
- Lewis meanwhile put early pressure on Verstappen for the lead but managed his pace to the end to come home P2 and take the team’s first F1 Sprint podium of the season.
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That was a fun race! I made a good start into turn one and had a really good battle with Charles (Leclerc). Running in second, I was then focused on trying to get closer to Max (Verstappen) in those early stages. Their pace at the moment is undeniable though so I wasn’t able to get close enough to challenge him. We’ve still got a long way to go to equal the pace he showed throughout the Sprint. Nonetheless, I’m really happy to be back on the podium.
Starting ahead of Max tomorrow is helpful. Ultimately, I think he will be breathing down our necks before too long given the pace that he had today. I think that will open up a good fight though between ourselves, the Ferraris and the McLarens. We’re all quite similar in pace this weekend by the looks of it so I hope we get to have a good battle tomorrow. Keeping Max behind would be awesome but if not, we’ll do everything we can to finish on the podium and bring home good points.
It’s been a bit of a scrappy day for me. Both penalties that I received today were fair. I was unable to give the position back to Piastri in the Sprint as Gasly had already passed him. If I let Piastri past, I would have had to let Gasly past too. It was a bit of a shame as it was an optimistic move from myself. Ultimately though, there aren’t a huge amount of points up for grabs on a Saturday.
We’re in a good place to fight for a podium from P5 tomorrow. It’s going to be an interesting race. The tyres felt good in the Sprint but that was helped by the cloudy conditions and the temperature dropping a little. It will be close between a one and a two-stop tomorrow and we’re going to have to be dynamic in order to react to the situation. We should have a good fight with the Ferraris and the McLaren of Norris. We may have the speed on them, but they are starting ahead so we will see what we can do.
We can be carefully optimistic with how the weekend has gone so far and how our updates have performed. We didn’t think this would be a track where we would be anywhere near the front. There are a lot of fast corners that are not usually our strength, so we’ve made a good step. That has proved key in putting us in a position to score solid points today.
After a tougher Sprint Shootout, both drivers showed strong pace in the Sprint itself. Lewis pressured Max early on but ultimately his speed proved too strong. We know we’ve still got a lot of work to catch up to the very front, but we can be encouraged by our first sprint podium of the season. George did everything he could today and bringing a point home having started P11 is useful for the team. His penalty was completely justified, and we should have given the position back. That was my fault as I thought we had more pace to get further ahead than five seconds. If we play the strategy well tomorrow, we should be racing for a solid podium position.
There’s lots of encouragement we can take away from today, even if we could have walked away with a few more points if everything had gone our way. Lewis had good pace in the Sprint Shootout. We were 0.139s off pole on Friday but 0.069s today. That’s a good sign that the update has moved us in right direction. George didn’t have a new set of soft tyres for his final run which is costly here, so he was never going to be able to trouble the front rows.
In the F1 Sprint, George did a good job to pick up positions. It’s a shame to drop a place with the penalty but it’s good to have got into the points. Lewis meanwhile did a great job. Second was the best that the car had in it today, but it was encouraging to see how much pace he had over Leclerc. That’s another sign that we are moving in the right direction. We’ve now got some good data to review overnight as part of our preparations for the race. The longer race opens up some options on strategy, so hopefully we’ll be able to make progress with both drivers. Max was able to keep us at arm’s length today, but it looked like we had the pace to challenge everyone else. Our stretch target for tomorrow therefore has to be a double podium.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team