Hamilton "not looking to pull out miracles" in Austin
Lewis Hamilton is "not looking to pull out miracles" as he prepares to clinch a sixth Formula 1 title in the United States Grand Prix after a disappointing qualifying session.
With three grands prix remaining including Sunday’s contest and 78 points up for grabs, Hamilton holds a 74-point lead.
That means Bottas needs to outscore Hamilton by 23 points to delay the Briton’s title win.
If Bottas wins, Hamilton must finish eighth to be champion.
Bottas will start the race from pole position, while Hamilton is down in fifth after a qualifying session he described as “one of the worst I've had in a long time”.
“I don’t look at this race as particularly important,” said the five-time world champion. “It’s as important as any other race to me. It’s not a stand out individual important race to me.
“There’s still two more after this. I approach it the same, not looking to pull out miracles.
“Things happen for a reason and [qualifying] is a lesson learned and I’ll try to see if I can turn a negative into a positive.”
Hamilton ended up three tenths off Bottas’s pace as the leading four drivers lapped a tenth apart.
“Not much [went wrong],” said Hamilton. “It just wasn’t a good lap. I just didn’t have two good laps. Sometimes you just don’t get it.
“The first lap started off really well. I lost time on the exit of Turn 11. Then Turn 13, then Turn 14.
“I was up 7 or 8 tenths on my previous lap. Then it came down to five, back up to six, back down to five. So I lost a bunch of time throughout the lap.
“The next one I clipped the kerb at Turn 8 and the lap was done after that.”
He drew criticism from Verstappen and Kvyat for his role in the incident but Hamilton played down what happened.
“It was just nothing,” said Hamilton. “I was trying to keep temperature in my tyres, everyone was going slow.
“So I kept going. There’s no rules or regulations saying you have to stay single file. I kept going and he started trying to race me. Which was fun…”
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