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Hamilton explains how Red Bull 'tag-team' dented Mexico victory hopes

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes were cornered into pursuing their strategy calls in the Mexican Grand Prix, after finishing second to Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton has sympathised with Mercedes' "hindered" strategy after finishing runner-up to Max Verstappen at the Mexican Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver was denied a first F1 win of the season by a comprehensive performance from Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who took the victory in Mexico. With Hamilton starting third behind teammate George Russell and Verstappen, Mercedes had high hopes of challenging for victory at the Hermanos Rodríguez Circuit. Hamilton and Russell started on the Medium-compound tyres, which Mercedes had hoped would lead to a stronger race strategy and secure them the win over the Red Bulls, who both started the race on Soft tyres. However, after Mercedes committed their drivers to a Medium-to-Hard tyre strategy, both Hamilton and Russell bemoaned the lack of pace from the hardest, most durable tyres. Mercedes were unable to reel in the Red Bulls, who had elected for a Soft-to-Medium tyre strategy, and did not succumb to excess degradation, as Mercedes had anticipated.

Hamilton: A Perez undercut would have been 'race over'

There had been calls from the Mercedes drivers to extend their Medium-tyre stints, which might have opened the door for running the Soft tyres at the end of the race, but Mercedes stuck to their intended strategy. Speaking after the race, Hamilton was asked if the Mercedes team considered extending their Medium-tyre stint and running the Soft tyres at the end of the race. "I kept telling them the tyres were fine, but I'm assuming that they were coming into my window," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com . "Sergio [Perez] had already stopped, so I'm assuming they were much quicker than me perhaps. "So, if we stayed out longer, I would have come out behind Sergio and it would have been all over. I think that's the reason."

Losing Russell 'hindered' strategy

Mercedes' efforts to overcome Verstappen were hindered at the start when George Russell was demoted from second to fourth in the opening corners of the race. Russell was unable to regain the position and finished behind Perez, who took the final spot on the podium. Hamilton continued to explain that Perez taking third place at the start denied Mercedes the opportunity of working together to challenge Verstappen. "Unfortunately, at the beginning, obviously I had a good battle through Turn One and Two, but my teammate got jumped by Sergio. So I was basically tag-teamed by the Red Bulls. "It's very, very hard on strategy when you don't have both cars there. I think Sergio was able to come in and pull me in, which definitely hindered our strategy."

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