Mercedes have given Lewis Hamilton a new chassis for the final two races after a large crack was found on his Abu Dhabi car.
Hamilton has had an interesting first season at the Brackley team since joining from McLaren, in the early part of the season he was largely outperformed by team-mate Nico Rosberg before moving clear of the German mid-season.
He won his solitary race of the year in Hungary but has since slipped back as Sebastian Vettel dominated the rest of the season.
For Austin, Hamilton will get a new car after an inspection found damage on his W04.
“This might explain Hamilton’s disappointing race results,” said Auto Sport und Motor correspondent Michael Schmidt.
The 2008 champion won the inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas in 2012 beating Sebastian Vettel in a straight fight, however ahead of this weekend’s edition, Lewis believes making it a third straight win in the USA will be near impossible.
“Vettel has been half a minute in front in the last races,” the Briton is quoted as saying, “so it’s hard to imagine we’re going to be in front of him suddenly.
“My plan is to qualify in front of him, then I can try my best to stay ahead of him in the race,” added Hamilton.
Amid the recent struggles for the lead Mercedes driver, team-mate Nico Rosberg believes he can now make up the 16-point to Hamilton in the Driver’s Championship.
“It’s very important to be ahead of Lewis in the end,” the German is quoted by the SID news agency, “because your teammate is always your most important comparison.
“So I’d rather be in front than behind,” Rosberg smiled.
Indeed with Kimi Raikkonen out for the final races, the battle now is for third in that championship.
“Third is still mathematically possible,” he said, “so that’s the goal. The last two races were good, so I want to continue like that.”
Despite his goals, Rosberg joined Hamilton in believing only a class of one can realistically fight for wins.
“Red Bull is just too fast in all respects,” he said, “especially Sebastian. He’s on another planet."
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