George Russell believes that Mercedes will need to rely on race strategy to defeat Max Verstappen and Red Bull at the Mexican Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver finished second in qualifying at the Hermanos Rodríguez Circuit, three tenths adrift of the 2022 World Champion.
The Briton cut a disappointed figure after qualifying, and claimed a lack of confidence in the car prevented his challenge for Pole Position.
"To be honest I was a bit lost for words, because the car has been feeling so good this weekend and, even though I missed FP1, I was just in such good groove. From my first lap in qually, that groove just disappeared," Russell explained to Sky Sports F1.
"But in Q3, my last lap, I went around the first three corners, and the car felt great, and I thought 'you know what, this is going to be the lap' and I just lost my car at the next corner."
Viewed by others:
Russell: Red Bull top speeds too strong
Russell continued to say that despite the inconsistencies in qualifying, he believed Mercedes have the pace to challenge for the Mexican GP win.
The Briton went on to play down their chances of being able to pass the Red Bull on track, owing to the higher top speeds achieved by their RB18.
"I believe this weekend we've had the fastest car, and if you've got the fastest car there's no reason why you can't win the race," added Russell.
"I think Max did an excellent job today as he's consistently doing week in, week out, but it's going to be very difficult to pass him.
"They're gaining about three tenths on us down the straights.
"I think we definitely can beat Red Bull for sure, but I don't think we're going to be able to make the overtake on track, so we're going to have to be strategic.
"Is it going to be a one or two-stop and I guess having both Lewis and I there we can be aggressive."
F1 Podcast: What does Dietrich Mateschitz's death mean for Red Bull?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key issues from the United States Grand Prix, including what Dietrich Mateschitz's death might mean for the future of Red Bull in F1.