Mercedes looked set for a first win of the season after impressing in practice for the Mexican Grand Prix, however as has been seen so often this season, Max Verstappen was in a league of his own as he streaked to victory.
Mercedes qualified in second and third on the grid, making the most of the low air density around the circuit, which helps them counter their drag problem, but their choice to go onto the hard compound tyres during the race cost them a shot at the top step, with the pace drop off on the hards compared to the other compounds being significant.
Former F1 driver Jenson Button believes that Mercedes may have missed their chance to win a race this season, with Austin and Mexico arguably being the tracks that they are better suited to.
“I think this was a great circuit for them in Mexico,” he said.
“Lewis [Hamilton] was so close to getting pole position but obviously had his issue, George had a bit of a mistake coming into the stadium section on his last run so getting one over on Red Bull in qualifying would have been a step, especially if both of them were able to do that then it would have been a very different race.
“The Mercedes just doesn’t have the straight line speed, whether it’s the engine power or just the efficiency of the way they designed their car for downforce.
“I think Mexico was their best chance [at a victory].”
Button’s comments suggest that they layout of the Mexico track favours the Mercedes car much more than Brazil or Abu Dhabi will, with the circuit requiring a lot of downforce and turns of all speeds, while the only straight when they would lose out to Red Bull’s straight line speed was the run down to Turn 1.
Button has not lost confidence in Lewis Hamilton, saying that a win this year is still possible, most likely in the season finale as the Yas Marina circuit.
“I think Abu Dhabi in terms of the circuit, the mechanical grip you need, they do have that in the car.
“But the problem is you exit hairpins on to a long straight which is going to hurt them, so it is going to be tricky for them to fight for a victory but there’s definitely hope.”
Both Hamilton and his teammate George Russell will be hoping for a win in the final two races for very different reasons, it would be the first in F1 for Russell, but for Hamilton it could prevent 2022 being the only year in his career than he fails to secure a win.