"Ferrari brought an upgrade this weekend and they were just that little bit quicker than us here this weekend.
"It was a hell of a fight. I was really trying to hold on. We did manage to get ahead of Sainz which was great teamwork and good work from the guys in the pit stop and the strategy group."
Hamilton relishing important Ferrari battle
Having spent a lot of the season focusing on Aston Martin, it now seems as though Mercedes are in a straight fight with Ferrari for second place in the constructors' championship.
Fred Vasseur's team have outscored Mercedes at the last four races, and Hamilton's battle with Russell today led to the man from King's Lynn stating over the team radio: "Are we fighting each other or the others?"
The Silver Arrows now find their lead over Ferrari at just 20 points, and Hamilton insists it was crucial they were still able to score good points at Suzuka.
"That was the maximum we could have achieved today," he added.
"We know how important the battle for second in the Constructors’ Championship is. I know how hard everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is working to achieve that.
"Minimising our points loss to Ferrari today was critical. There is still a long way to go until the end of the season."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.