Lewis Hamilton has explained how Mercedes could have challenged Max Verstappen at the Mexico City Grand Prix after finishing second to the double F1 champion.
The Mercedes driver took the chequered flag 15 seconds behind his Red Bull rival after Mercedes opted for a sub-optimal medium-hard strategy compared to the Dutchman's soft-medium stints.
After starting on the medium rubber, Mercedes could have either extended its stint and risked dropping off the cliff before fitting a set of softs, or run as it did with the safer strategy.
In contrast, Red Bull started both Verstappen and Sergio Perez on soft tyres, leaving both harder options available for the later stint.
Hamilton conceded that even if Mercedes had matched the strategy of its title-winning rival, it is unlikely the result would have changed.
"If we had started on the soft, maybe I would have been the same distance behind in that first stint," said Hamilton. "I don’t really know what differently we would do.
“Perhaps we would have tried the undercut and ultimately that would have been much more enjoyable to have tried something like that but hindsight’s a great thing.
“I’m just grateful for the progress we have made as a team and the fact that we are now in between the Red Bulls. I think that’s huge.”
Mercedes "getting closer" to Red Bull - Hamilton
Mercedes has steadily closed the gap on Red Bull across the season but this was one of the few races where the Silver Arrows looked to be genuinely in the hunt for victory.
“Ultimately, they still have the upper hand," continued the seven-time champion.
"They’re still a little bit quicker. Maybe this was the closest we have ever been and, perhaps if we were on the same tyres, maybe it was only a couple of tenths.
“But they’re quite quick in a straight line and are not losing through the corners.
“I was in his tow and I was struggling just to keep up so they’ve definitely got a little bit more in the tank than we do. But we’re getting closer."