Mark Hughes: Relentless Hamilton does it

Mark Hughes: Relentless Hamilton does it

Lewis Hamilton feared for his chances of catching Sebastian Vettel when the Austin weekend started, but on Sunday the McLaren was imperious as it hunted leader down. Mark Hughes recounts the US GP

Lap 19 and in the McLaren pits things were getting pretty tense. Lewis Hamilton was losing pace. In the last four laps, his deficit to leader Sebastian Vettel had grown from one second to 3.2s. The rear options were on their way out. They'd done six laps in Q3 the day before, so long did they take to come in, but so had Vettel's – which were holding up fine.

But Seb had run out front from the start, whereas Lewis had spent over three laps racing and passing Mark Webber and then closing down the gap to the lead. It was logical that they'd surrendered earlier – but this was strategically awkward timing. They'd believed they could get that first set to lap 24-25 for a one-stop, giving the primes a final stint of 30-odd laps.

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