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Lewis Hamilton has said that stopping Max Verstappen from extending his championship lead will be a challenging task

Hamilton is already a dozen points behind Verstappen after the Dutchman’s stunning victory in the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

With the next two races in Mexico and Brazil set to favour Verstappen’s Red Bull, Hamilton has every reason to be worried that a record-breaking eighth world championship may be on the edge of being snatched away.

“We are going to the next two tracks which are very strong circuits for Red Bull so it is going to be tough,” said Hamilton, who finished 1.3 seconds behind Verstappen on Sunday.

“We will just try and minimise how strong they can be compared to us, and see if we can do a better job.

“I am trying not to think about it at the moment, but be happy with the job I did today. I am living in the moment and will take it one race at a time.”

“The goal was to get in the lead, and I finally got a good start,” added Hamilton. “I have not had as good a start like that for a long time and I was really happy with it.

Hamilton has won five of his eight races at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas before into Sunday’s 17th round of 22.

Unfortunately, even beating pole-sitter Verstappen to the first curve with a strong start, Hamilton’s Mercedes had the pace to open up a large margin.

Verstappen subsequently grabbed the lead with an early stop, and while Hamilton – on fresher rubber in the final stages – shaved seven seconds off Verstappen’s advantage to set up an exciting finish, he was unable to mount a serious challenge.

“So, it was about staying clean, coming out ahead, and holding on to it. It felt good at the time, and like, ‘hey this is step one, but they were just too quick.”

Verstappen executed Red Bull’s aggressive strategy to claim his eighth win of a campaign which could see him claim his first title.

“I really didn’t think he was going to pull that off with Lewis on eight-lap fresher tyres,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

“You know Lewis is so strong, and he went longer on the tyres to give himself an advantage at the end.

“To lose here would’ve been really painful, but Max held on and did a great job.”

The rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen will resume with three races in a row in Mexico, Brazil, and Qatar, followed by two back-to-back races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Also Read:- Why Verstappen calls Hamilton a ‘stupid idiot’ as F1 rivals clash in FP2 at COTA

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