• IN WORDS: Lewis & Valtteri's USA Debrief

Our drivers on mindsets, strategy decisions and intense on-track scraps...

The build-up to the United States Grand Prix focused heavily on Lewis' title chances, but he admits it didn't cross his mind during the weekend.

Instead, he was focused on getting the maximum out of the race, and while it wasn't the result he wanted on Sunday, he enjoyed battling it out on track.

"I hadn't had a single thought about the Championship this weekend," Lewis said. "There were a lot of questions about it, but I was just here to win.

"My sole goal is to win those four races, that is what my mind was set on. Naturally, if you do that, then maybe you can win the Championship.

"I was just thinking of doing the best performing weekend I could do. But, a lot of things went against us particularly today.

"We are still in a great position. For me, there is frustration because I want to win the title for the team and today we lost points for the Constructors'.

"We've also lost performance in some areas, I think we know where. I enjoyed the race. Kimi drove a great race, Max drove a great race. At one point it was me and Kimi wheel to wheel. That was awesome."

For Valtteri, it was a difficult afternoon and he ran out of tyres in the closing laps, having to settle for fifth place.

"We didn't quite have the pace that we were hoping for, especially on the Soft tyres," explained Valtteri.

"We had planned for a one-stop race and that's what we did, but in hindsight the second stint was just a little bit too long.

"I started to struggle in the corners especially with traction. I tried to defend but there was no more life in the tyres.

"They had started to go three or four laps before Sebastian overtook me and they were just completely gone in the end, that's why he managed to build such a big gap in only a few laps."

Ferrari and Red Bull proved to be strong opposition at the Circuit of the Americas, showing good pace and tyre management.

"There are a lot of things we could've done better," Lewis said. "There were certain things that weren't optimum for us, which made it look even worse that it was.

"Not an ideal Sunday, but I think up until today it'd been a good, solid weekend. I think the decisions and the steps that we have taken were good.

"However, Ferrari gained a bit of pace, we seemed to lose a bit of pace. But, we will go back to the drawing board and that's why we are the best as a team.

"No one is to blame, we all take the blame together. We will kick ourselves in the backside and keep working, keep pushing.

"I know that the guys will do a great analysis from the weekend over the next couple of days and we will come back stronger the next race."

Friday's lack of dry running left teams with various unknowns to contend with ahead of Sunday's race.

Valtteri was happy with his first stint, feeling his SuperSoft tyres were in good shape, but he then struggled with the Soft tyre, which is typically the better long-run compound. But, that wasn't the case at COTA.

"There were a lot of question marks because of the limited running in the dry, so making predictions on the set-up and the tyres was very tricky," the Finn explained.

"For me, the SuperSoft worked well in the first stint. Some people were stopping, but I was still feeling comfortable with the tyres.

"Initially, I had some issues with overheating, but it got better and better. When the tyre was wearing, I pushed it a bit more and the feeling was good with the SuperSoft.

"The Soft tyre was always going to be an unknown. Normally, it's been the better tyre on long runs but for some reason it didn't quite work."

The top three drivers were separated by just a handful of seconds in the final few laps and it proved to be a tense end to the race.

"I was trying to win the race," he said. "But, look at the two guys next to me, they're not fighting for the Championship.

"I had to be very, very careful how I navigated around them. Championships are not won by fighting and making silly mistakes.

"I went through that corner, I gave him way too much space just to be sure that I didn't get clipped.

"If it were me and Seb, for example, I would've been a lot tighter and more aggressive if we were fighting for the Championship, but there was no need.

"The key was that I at least finished ahead of Seb and for me it doesn't matter when you win the Championship, as long as you get it done."