Lewis Hamilton has called on Mercedes to "dig deep" after Red Bull scored a hat-trick of wins in the current turbo-hybrid era for the first time.
Hamilton conceded a one-stop strategy was the "only option" available to Mercedes in the French Grand Prix after rival Max Verstappen took the victory.
The Dutchman hunted down Hamilton in the closing stages of the race on a two-stop plan, mirroring the British driver's Spanish Grand Prix win to extend his lead to 12 points in F1's drivers' standings.
Despite leading for the majority of the race, Hamilton was powerless to resist the late charge made by Verstappen on the offset strategy but denied following suit was ever an option.
"[Verstappen] was already quite far ahead so the only option I really had... because he was undercutting me so he would just come out ahead and I wouldn't be able to pass, they are just too quick on the straights," said Hamilton.
"The only option was to stay out as long as possible and hope the tyre holds together.
"They just had the better power on straights all weekend and considering that we had such a difficult Friday I am really happy with today's result.
"Of course, we didn't win and we were in the lead but I had no tyres left at the end so unfortunately lost a position but still, was a good race."
Mercedes has to find form to continue battle
Hamilton started second, behind Verstappen but assumed the lead as the Red Bull slid wide at turn one.
With yet another duel between the pair, Hamilton was insistent that Mercedes still needed to find performance to ensure the team can continue the tussle.
""We have got to find some pace, that's for sure but most of the time we lost today was on the straights so we have got to definitely dig deep and try to find out where it is, whether it is power or drag," added Hamilton.
"We have still got a good package. I am not really sure where we lost our position today.
When put to him that the undercut was powerful, he added: "I assumed so. But we didn't know how strong that was going to be or not.
"What was really surprising was to run out of that front tyre early on. Obviously, they had a good strategy and that really worked for them."
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