LEWIS HAMILTON put his rivalry with Max Verstappen aside as they assessed the United States Grand Prix together – and the Brit admitted the Red Bull car is simply too good.

Hamilton, 37, desperately tried to hold off the 25-year-old in the closing stages in Austin after a bodged pit stop for the Dutchman.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen exchanged pleasantries after the United Stated GP

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen exchanged pleasantries after the United Stated GPCredit: Splash

But the newly-crowned world champion, helped by fresh medium tyres, closed the gap on the Brit.

And he eventually overtook him with six laps to go, denying the Stevenage star his first race win of the season.

Despite the disappointment, Hamilton remained polite and engaging in the cool down room behind the scenes before stepping out on the podium with Verstappen and third-placed Charles Leclerc.

Speaking to Leclerc about Verstappen, Hamilton said: “It’s so hard to stay ahead of him.”

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Leclerc replied by asking about tyre degradation: “Were you losing the front or the rear?”

Hamilton confirmed it was his rear tyres.

Leclerc then asked about his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz, who started on pole but spun out on the first corner of lap one.

The Monegasque ace said: “What happened to Carlos?”

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Hamilton confirmed: “Erm, George [Russell] took him out.”

Verstappen then entered the waiting room after celebrating sealing the 2022 constructors’ championship for Red Bull with his team.

And Hamilton was left dumbfounded at how good their car is this year – with the Mercedes model too far off the pace to secure even one chequered flag yet.

Hamilton, who has three races to avoid his first-ever winless season in F1, told the man who famously pipped him to the 2021 title: “You came from so far back!

“We can’t compete with you on the straights.”

The Sky Sports cameras and microphones in the room did not pick up Verstappen’s reply.

Leclerc then complained about one specific section of the track and said: “Turn 11 was so bad, the grip,” with which his fellow drivers seemed to agree.

Verstappen moved on to 391 points on Sunday as he landed a record-equalling 13th win of the season.

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Leclerc is second on 267 with Hamilton back in sixth on 198 with just the Grand Prix in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi to come.

The Merc man put his weekend disappointment behind him quickly, though, as he celebrated his dog Roscoe’s birthday.

Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were overheard holding a private conversation before Verstappen joined

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Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were overheard holding a private conversation before Verstappen joinedCredit: Twitter
The trio then headed out on to the podium for the trophy presentation

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The trio then headed out on to the podium for the trophy presentationCredit: AFP


https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/20226596/lewis-hamilton-f1-max-verstappen-us-grand-prix/