Lewis Hamilton has expanded on what he learned from trailing Max Verstappen’s Red Bull at stages of the United States Grand Prix.

Mercedes were bolstered by the addition of an upgraded floor in Austin that enabled Hamilton to remain close to Verstappen through the opening stages of the Sprint.

Although Verstappen eventually pulled away by 9.5s, Hamilton noted that he had been able to identify the strengths of the RB19 car that has won all but one race this season.

Speaking ahead of the Mexico Grand Prix last weekend, the Briton was asked to provide a deeper assessment of what he discovered at the Circuit of the Americas.

Hamilton asserts that his previous suspicion that Mercedes’ most notable deficit comes in the high-speed corners was confirmed. Meanwhile, he also observed that Red Bull’s car was more compliant to drive than his W14, allowing Verstappen to preserve his pace with stronger tyre management.

“I think the only place we are on the level of them is probably in the low speed,” Hamilton explained. “Our car has generally been good in low speed for the last couple of years. But the higher the speed you go, the more the separation you see and that’s why you saw them being so quick in Suzuka.

“It’s always a good experience to be behind them because you can see first-hand where the car is stronger and where they can get on the power earlier than most of us. The car moves a lot less, so degradation of the rear tyres is much more easy to manage.

“I’ve been in that situation before where I’ve had a much more stable rear end and it’s so much easier to keep the temperatures lower in the tyres and go longer. They’ve just done a better job in that space and have a more stable platform, so it’s much, much easier to drive. That’s why when you see Max get out the car he’s not sweating.”

(L to R): Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in parc ferme. 29.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Race Day.

Hamilton had come within 2.2s of eclipsing Verstappen for the grand prix victory in Texas before he was later excluded for a technical infringement relating to plank wear.

The seven-time World Champion recovered from a tough qualifying in Mexico to again come home runner-up to Verstappen, who recorded a record-breaking 16th win of 2023.

However, Hamilton concedes that Mercedes’ late-season charge is reminiscent of last year, adding the German marque requires “big changes” to catch Red Bull next year.

Asked if Mercedes’ encouraging race pace on Sunday inspired confidence heading to Brazil this weekend, Hamilton said: “It definitely gives us a lot of confidence.

“I mean, last year, at the same time, we were doing the same thing, but last year, I think we were three-tenths behind Max in quali – or something like that, and I came second again but he walked off with it. So, we’re really just mirroring what we did last year.

“So, we have to make some real big changes for next year. Because obviously, in Bahrain earlier this year, they’re 1.5 seconds a lap faster than us at least. So key is to make sure that’s not the case in Bahrain, but I think hopefully these next couple of races will be close. But I’d probably put money on it that he’d [Verstappen] get to 18, 19 [wins this season], with that car.”

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