Lewis Hamilton believes Red Bull had the better tyre strategy after finishing second at the Mexico City Grand Prix.
The seven-time champion started third behind eventual winner Max Verstappen and team-mate George Russell, with both Mercedes drivers on mediums as opposed to the Dutchman's softs.
The seven-time champion got the better of his team-mate at turns two and three and remained in touching distance of the Red Bull throughout the opening stint, closing the gap as Verstappen struggled with graining on his left front tyre.
But the race fell away as the tyre strategies played out, forcing Hamilton to settle for second.
When the top three spoke to Marc Gene immediately after the race, a chorus of boos rang around the intimidating Foro Sol stadium as Hamilton took to the microphone, with home hero Sergio Perez clearly gesticulating for his adoring support to respect his fellow competitor.
"Well first, this has been an amazing crowd - definitely a bit awkward this time around with boos all day but nevertheless, I have so much love for Mexico and the people here," insisted Hamilton.
"What a great race and event they have put on this weekend."
"I was so close in that first stint but I think Red Bull was clearly too fast today and ultimately maybe they had the better tyre strategy."
Despite starting on the mediums, Mercedes opted not to run long and switch to softs at the end and instead pitted only four laps later than Verstappen, moving to the unfavoured hard compound in the hope his rival's mediums would struggle in the latter stages.
The apparent mistake was made clear as Daniel Ricciardo, who did switch from mediums to softs, scythed his way from outside the points to finish seventh, despite having 10 seconds added to his race time as a penalty for taking Yuki Tsunoda out.
Addressing the switch to hards, Hamilton said: "I am not sure it was the right tyre in the end.
"I thought we should have started on the soft but obviously we started on the opposite tyre.
"It was ok on that first stint but that hard tyre was just so offset.
"Congratulations to Max, it is just great to be up here and separate these two."