Red Bull ready for Hamilton stronghold in Austin

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Red Bull ready for Hamilton stronghold in Austin

Formula 1

Red Bull ready for Hamilton stronghold in Austin

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the United States Grand Prix in Austin has become a “stronghold” for Lewis Hamilton as the title race enters its final six rounds.

Hamilton has won five of the eight races at Circuit of the Americas since 2012, only once failing to finish on the podium in Texas, and secured his sixth drivers’ championship with second place on his last visit. While Max Verstappen holds a six-point championship lead, Horner believes Red Bull will need to look beyond Austin to take further significant points off Hamilton.

“We know the next race in Austin has been a Hamilton stronghold for quite a few years now but then Mexico, Brazil hopefully higher altitude races tended to be quite strong for us in the past,” Horner said. “So I’m really not sure what to expect from the last three. It’s going to be fascinating but you know we’re gonna have to be at the very top of our game.

“We’ll do our simulations (for the last three), we’ll do our homework and we’ll do the best job that we can. You do as much research as you can into the venues and go from there. We’ve got to take it one race at a time. We’ve maximized points at tracks that Mercedes have been incredibly strong at the last three venues, so that’s been a positive.”

With the likes of McLaren and Alpine winning races this year and Ferrari threatening on a number of occasions, Horner also believes other teams can influence the outcome of the title.

“I also think that’s been one of the great things of the season, there’s been the variance of winners that we’ve had,” he said. “It seems a shame to change it for next year really, but there’s going to be probably some random effects coming up.

“Again, engine penalties can play a role and will play a role in future races and weather can be a key factor as well. So it’s going to be fascinating to see how it all pans out over the next few months.”

Verstappen himself believes Mercedes showed improved performance in Turkey as Valtteri Bottas won comfortably from pole position and Hamilton recovered from a power unit penalty to finish fifth, but says that isn’t leading to any extra pressure on his side.

“I definitely do think they probably stepped it up a bit more so, even with the points, it’s not going to be easy,” Verstappen said. “But I said it before we even started the (Turkish GP) weekend, so far we’ve had a really good year so it’s not going to change the world for me if we finish first or second at the end of the day, but I’m always going to give my best and we’ll see again in Austin how it’s going to go.

“We won’t give up, we’ll always try to do the best we can and hopefully, of course, at the end of the championship it’s going to be enough but if it isn’t I’m not going to sleep less.”

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