There is absolutely no doubt that Mercedes are getting closer to Red Bull, after being the closest team to them for the second race in a row at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton backed up his second place at the United States Grand Prix with another second place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, on a day where a victory was predicted to possibly be on the cards.
A win ultimately proved to be a step too far, due a tyre offset as a result of the Silver Arrows going for the wrong strategy on Sunday.
The Germans opted for what ended up being a conservative Medium-Hard strategy, after believing the Softs would result in a two-stop strategy.
Red Bull proved that this wasn’t the case, after completing a Soft-Medium strategy with both race winner Max Verstappen and third place finisher Sergio Pérez, in what was an aggressive strategy.
With Verstappen being on a softer compound than Hamilton, the seven-time World Champion was unable to do anything about the newly crowned double World Champion, as tyre wear wasn’t an issue.
Whilst Verstappen was managing his softer tyres, Hamilton could only match the Dutchman’s times due to his harder compound, in what was one of the most uneventful races of the season.
After the race, the 37-year-old admitted that he believes the team got the strategy wrong, and that he actually wanted to be “on the Softs”.
“I think so,” Hamilton told Formula1.com
“When I was on the medium tyre there wasn’t really any degradation when they pulled me in. So, I think ultimately, we should have been on the softs. It’s something I had asked and questioned.
“I thought maybe one of the two Mercedes should have a soft to be able to attack. So, when both Red Bulls and everyone behind took their tyres off I thought shoot.
“Nonetheless to be this close [to the win], to have two seconds back-to-back, I’m so, so proud and so grateful to the team. I think the race pace was generally quite good it was just; we were offset on tyres most of the time.”
Both Hamilton and George Russell, who finished fourth after a poor start from second, complained on the radio during the race that they got their strategy wrong, something which team boss Toto Wolff apologised for after the race.
Despite missing out on a first victory of the season, the Stevenage-born driver still took “so many positives” away from the weekend, including, the fact that the team’s new aerodynamic upgrade “really, really worked”.
“There are so many positives” he added.
“The upgrade really, really worked in the last race. We still have improvements to make, which we probably won’t make the rest of the year, but we know exactly where we need to improve for next year.”