Lewis Hamilton learnt important lessons about the behaviour of Max Verstappen's RB19 in the United States Grand Prix Sprint as he followed closely behind.
At the start, Verstappen held position from pole, with Hamilton passing Charles Leclerc to run second and was within the one-second zone for the opening laps to activate DRS.
Ultimately, Verstappen's pace advantage shone through as he pulled away to win by 9.4s as Hamilton banked his best Sprint result since the first-ever one at the 2021 British Grand Prix.
His Mercedes team is hoping to present a closer challenge to Red Bull in 2024, with the seven-time champion detailing important lessons he picked up while pursuing the three-time World Champion.
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Hamilton spying on Red Bull
"I didn't get that great a start, but was obviously quite aggressive into Turn 1 and had a good battle with Charles," Hamilton told media including RacingNews365.
"After that, the car was feeling pretty good so I was just attacking from the get-go, trying to get as close [to Max] as I could while the car felt like that.
"I just couldn't bridge the gap to Max, and once I was out of his DRS, then he just starting eking away and cruising.
"It was a good position to be able to watch what the Red Bull and Max is doing, how it was behaving.
"I got to watch for a while, and see where they are particularly strong, which we can see on GPS, but still at least to know where we are, if there is anywhere we are stronger and where we are weaker so I can download that to my team."
Verstappen then intervened to joke that the RB19 had a "USB drive" with Hamilton continuing on.
"That's what we need, is a USB!," he said.
"I was trying to get close enough, and next time I'll get a GoPro stick, but we have a lot of work to do.
"Everyone behind these guys has a lot of work to do, and it's no small feat for us to truly catch them for next year.
"They will be progressing at a steep rate as they've got an amazing development team, to make it even steeper for us to be able to close that gap.
"But I’m going to put 100% faith in my team that we can do it."