Austin - Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes made life difficult
for themselves with a cautious race strategy in Sunday's United States Grand
The 33-year-old Briton, who finished third, but missed out
on clinching his fifth drivers title, told reporters that he was surprised when
he was called in for an early pit-stop to take advantage of a Virtual Safety
Car intervention on lap 11.
"It was a little bit of a surprise," said the
Mercedes man after finishing behind race winner Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari and
Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
"And once we'd done the stop on 11, I knew I would be
doing a two-stop.
"We just made it so hard for ourselves. When we came
out, I had to catch Kimi, I caught him, but my tyres were dead.
"Then he did his stop and was catching me with fresh
tyres - and then I came out, after the last stop, and had 12 seconds to catch
up. It just made it so hard for us even to compete today."
He added that he was also not sure that he started the race
on the best tyre.
"I think it already started from Q2, that tyre was the
wrong tyre to start on. We knew there was a big difference in start performance
on these different tyres, yet we fell for something that we already knew was
potentially not the way forward.
"I lost position to Kimi and then I wasn't able to keep
up because he had clean air and a better tyre.
"It was definitely a lesson learned, I think, for us.
Performance-wise, it wasn't our greatest weekend, but we've had some incredible
weekends this year.
"Still, to get a third, I'm still grateful, but
naturally, starting first and finishing third is never a good thing."
Despite his disappointment, Hamilton seems assured of
wrapping up the title in Mexico next weekend.