Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has said that Max Verstappen did everything he could to keep Lewis Hamilton behind him in the Brazilian Grand Prix, but the pace of Mercedes was simply too much to hold off.
With Hamilton recovering from a 10th-place grid slot after an engine change penalty, Verstappen was able to take the lead against the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at the race start of Sunday's race.
But with Hamilton slicing his way through the field, Verstappen came under pressure in the closing stages and was passed by the Mercedes on Lap 59 of 71.
"I think it was unraceable today," Horner said, as his drivers had to settle for second and fourth places respectively.
"I think we put up as big a defence as we could. Max did his best, he raced hard. But there was just no chance today.
"So after the highs of Mexico and Austin, we have... [It's] not a low here, but it's a tough one, having led probably 75 percent of the race. But [it's] one week to the next one. We'll brush ourselves down and come back fighting in a week's time."
With the straight-line speed of the Mercedes obvious to see, Horner said there was no defence down the straights against such top speeds.
"The straight-line speed is really impressive," he commented. "That new engine, they've got a Monaco rear wing on here... It's very, very impressive.
"For Max, he can't defend against that. If any other driver had to be within 0.4 of a second to get anywhere near an overtake, the Mercedes was 0.9 to a second and could be in the braking area at the end of the straight.
"That's a very potent weapon with some very fast tracks coming up in the last few races."
"Hamilton was unstoppable"
Despite leading for the majority of the race, Horner said that Verstappen's advantage wasn't entirely expected as they believed Mercedes would have dominated on a more straightforward weekend.
"It's always hard to take a loss when you've led for as many laps, but that was against expectation," Horner admitted.
"I thought Max did a hell of a job to keep Lewis behind for as long as he managed. I think we saw yesterday the pace of that car is just unstoppable so, for us, [it's] damage limitation.
"Congratulations to Lewis and Mercedes, they were very, very quick here, but [it's] important points for us. Checo [Perez] getting that fastest lap at the end there was damage limitation."
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