Lewis Hamilton says today’s United States Grand Prix is not “do or die” and plans on being “sensible” after qualifying second from title rival Nico Rosberg during a rain-shortened session at Austin.
The Briton can clinch his third world title if he outscores runner-up Sebastian Vettel by two points, and his Mercedes team-mate by nine. With the Ferrari driver lining up a lowly 14th due to his engine grid penalty, Hamilton can focus on pole sitter Rosberg.
Facing a similar situation in the last two races at Suzuka and Sochi, the championship leader had immediately attacked the German on both occasions, succeeding to overhaul him in Japan.
A two-time winner at COTA, Hamilton confesses he is more likely to take it easy this time around.
“Qualifying is just the beginning,” said the 30-year-old. “The race is obviously a long battle. It’s going to be hard out there today in those conditions throughout the race.
“I think today it’s still about being sensible. There’s no need in taking any particular risks. There are still four races. It’s not “do or die” this weekend.”
Treacherous weather has played major part in the USGP weekend so far, leading to the cancellation of FP2 on Friday and the postponement of qualifying until Sunday morning.
Conditions remained very tricky when Q1 started at COTA, but the session unfolded rather smoothly until the situation worsened 45 minutes into the running. Race control eventually decided to scratch the top-10 pole position shootout, handing Q2 pacesetter Rosberg his 19th career pole.
Hamilton, whose fastest time was only one tenth shy of his team-mate’s benchmark, wishes drivers had been given the go-ahead for Q3.
“Qualifying was cut short so [Nico and I] did not get to battle it out until the final few laps.
“It was lots of fun for all of us – a bit of an anti-climax at the end, I was looking forward to going out. We probably could have gone out and cleaned the track ourselves if all the cars are out.
“Anyway, I’m happy with the one-two for the team and good the fans to be able to see the cars run, seemed like there was a good crowd there today so hope the weather backs off today for the race”
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