Lewis took a strong P2 finish this afternoon in Austin, running a Medium/Hard/Hard strategy and leading the race from laps 41 to 49 until the superior pace of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull saw him pass for the lead on Lap 50.
George secured P5 after serving a five-second penalty for a Turn One collision with Carlos Sainz, then carrying front wing damage for much of the race that compromised the balance and downforce of his car.
The team’s performance in the race confirmed the performance step of the final upgrade package of the season, which was introduced this weekend.
The team scored a total of 29 points thanks to George’s fastest lap on the race’s final lap, closing the gap to Ferrari in P2 by 14 points.
I’m shattered. It felt amazing to be in the lead, but the car was a handful today. We came here with upgrades, and we closed the gap a little bit. It was so close, and I did everything I could to try and stay ahead, but Red Bull was just a little bit too quick. We’ve been working so hard as a Team this year, and there are many positives from this race. As a team, we showed great pit stop and strategy performance. I’m also happy with my performance; it showed that when we have a competitive car, I can bring it home. So we’ll keep pushing, and we’ll try and give it everything we can over the next three races – it’ll come to us at some stage.
It was a difficult afternoon for me – miserable how things unfolded at the start as I don’t want to be in a position where I contribute to another driver having to retire. It’s probably the furthest we’ve been away from the midfield and the closest we’ve been to the front for quite a while, so a good step forward this weekend. The team back at the factory are doing a great job continuing to update the car, trying to make it a little bit lighter and understanding what we need to work on for next year, and that’s where most of our focus currently is. Obviously, I want to get back on the podium because the last time feels like an age ago. We had such a good run of form, but the last couple of races didn’t go well in terms of my personal performance. Truly fighting for race wins is still the goal for us. Even if we don’t achieve a race win, we want to be in a position where we have a chance to fight for the win.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO:
First, congratulations to Red Bull and to Honda for winning the Constructors’ Championship; given the sad news yesterday about Dietrich Mateschitz, it was fitting that they should secure the title today. From our side, this weekend was a step forward for us, and we showed encouraging performance. No doubt, Red Bull is still ahead of us, but I think we’re getting closer to them and Ferrari – and that’s a positive outcome for us. We brought an upgrade to Austin, and we’ve seen that reflected in terms of car performance. Obviously, an unfortunate start for George, colliding with Carlos, which I would classify as a racing incident. Lewis had a strong race today and was giving it everything. He had a tyre deficit on the Hard because he simply didn’t have any Mediums to choose, and still holding on to a potential win felt feasible at that stage, but once Max was past Charles and he couldn’t fight back, it was just a matter of time. Next up is Mexico, which we’re looking forward to and hopefully can continue to show our performance. On paper, this should be a track that suits our car, but as we’ve learned this season, it can be a bit unpredictable where we actually stand in reality.