Denied wrapping-up his fifth title by a canny start from Kimi Raikkonen, followed by a dummy pit stop and the subsequent robust defence of his position, Lewis Hamilton believes his United States Grand Prix was also compromised by his team’s conservative tyre strategy.
Asked if the strategy was dictated by the team’s desire to wrap-up the championship as opposed to merely winning the race, the Briton told reporters: “My strategy was the same, because I wanted to win the race.
“We were on pole position,” he continued, “same straightforward approach going throughout the weekend but in strategy they were talking about different scenarios as we do every weekend but there’s a different feeling, for sure, with the performance and decisions that were taken today as opposed to previous races but I don’t think we needed to make any changes.
“I don’t know why they would not want to win the race,” he added. “I think they did want to win the race, it just didn’t play out the way that we had planned and I think it already started from Q2.
“I think that tyre was the wrong tyre to start on,” he admitted, referring to the supersoft adopted also by Bottas, Ricciardo and Vettel, but not by (race winner) Kimi Raikkonen who started on the ultrasofts.
“We had already seen, a long, long time ago in the year Kimi starting on a softer tyre, I think it was in Austria. We already knew there was a big difference between the start performances on these different tyres yet we fell for something that we already knew was potentially not the way forward and obviously lost position to him and then wasn’t able to keep up because he had clean air and a better tyre.
“There was definitely a lesson learned for us and we’ll definitely go to the drawing board but performance-wise it wasn’t our greatest weekend but we’ve had some incredible weekends this year and still to get a third, I’m still grateful for that but naturally starting first and finishing third is never a good thing.”