Damon Hill admits he was surprised to hear Lewis Hamilton voicing doubts over his pace via team radio during the United States Grand Prix.
A tense battle between Hamilton and Max Verstappen unfolded in the race at the Circuit of the Americas, with Hamilton initially leading before Verstappen got ahead at the pit-stops.
Hamilton was heard at times questioning whether he could maintain his speed, and Hill wonders whether this is a reflection of some gamesmanship in the title fight.
"It was a terrific race, because it was so finely-balanced all the way through," Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.
"And there's a little bit of gamesmanship [with] some of those radio calls. I was surprised that Lewis was on the radio saying, 'I can't keep up the pace', as he does sometimes.
"You think, 'Why are you giving the game away?' Then Max was saying, 'I can see him sliding around', and then pitted and completely outfoxed Mercedes.
"[Verstappen] got track position back from his pole position that he lost in effect, and then controlled a very, very tight race. It was thrilling from beginning to end."
Hill was impressed by how Hamilton and Verstappen went head-to-head on the opening lap, but thinks it was the tension throughout the race that made it especially exciting.
"The first lap of that [race] was right up there with all the top first laps we've ever seen," the 1996 World Champion said.
"But the nail-biter was whether or not Lewis would get within the one second and get his DRS open. He seemed to get close enough, and then he couldn't. He obviously couldn't get close enough because he didn't open his DRS.
"So he never got a shot at that passing move, and ran out of laps before we ran out of tyres. But the tension I think was great, all the way through.
"The other thing was the fans in the crowd seemed to be relating to it and getting in. Everyone seemed to be clued in as to the importance of the strategy and what the guys were really doing in the cars."
Verstappen now leads Hamilton by 12 points in the Drivers' standings, whilst Mercedes remain ahead of Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship with a 23-point advantage.
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