Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has conceded Lewis Hamilton was "between a rock and a hard place" with his decision not to pit during a late safety car period in the Miami Grand Prix.
Hamilton was fifth when the safety car was triggered on lap 41 of the Miami Grand Prix after McLaren's Lando Norris and AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly tangled.
Mercedes team-mate George Russell took advantage and stopped for fresh tyres after running up until that point on the hard tyre on which he had started, and after informing his team he wished to remain on track and gamble on a safety car.
In contrast, Hamilton faced a lose-lose situation where both stopping and remaining on the track would cost him track position.
"I think he was between a rock and a hard place because the safety car clearly came out in a situation that wasn't favourable for him and was favourable for George in the back," said Wolff.
"George had a window with no one behind him. He was able to switch on a practically new medium and Lewis had to decide 'Do I keep the position on a hard or do I go on a soft?'.
"That would have also been tricky so that was probably a 50-50 decision and in the end, it didn't work out for him.
"It is not the first time this season that he has been unlucky with the safety car."
Wolff denies FIA dialogue in Hamilton Russell switch
After the race, Hamilton reminded Mercedes it was 'their job' to decide whether to pit or not as he expressed frustration with the situation.
Hamilton was quickly passed by his team-mate as expected when the race resumed but as this took place off the track at turn 11, he swiftly reclaimed fifth.
But because Russell had allowed this in a way that presented an immediate chance to pass again, he was instructed to drop back for a second time.
Asked if the team had entered into dialogue with the FIA over the situation, Wolff explained: "The was no dialogue with the FIA and I think that is how it should be.
"It is the FIA coming back to us and saying, 'They need to change position'."