Damon Hill believes that losing out to Red Bull at the United States Grand Prix might have left Mercedes "shaken".
Whilst many expected Lewis Hamilton's team to be the stronger outfit at the Circuit of the Americas, the Silver Arrows appeared to struggle throughout the weekend and were eventually beaten to the win by Max Verstappen.
Hill wonders whether the Brackley-based squad will now feel that they have an even greater challenge on their hands as the season heads into its final stages.
"I think they were really quite shaken by this result," Hill told the F1 Nation podcast. "They know that they've got a really tough battle now to cling on to the title.
"Lewis gave it his everything. Out of the car, he was still a bit exhausted I think from trying everything and [he was] a little bit defeated, but he won't give up and neither will Mercedes.
"But it's definitely advantage Red Bull and Verstappen."
Hill also thinks that Red Bull benefitted from the performance of Sergio Perez, whilst Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas did not have such a strong day.
"The other thing I want to mention is the role that Sergio played," the 1996 World Champion added.
"Because, during the race, Sergio was actually squeezing Lewis, and Lewis wasn't able to drop back and save tyres quite as much as he probably wanted to, because at one point he was only four seconds behind him.
"As a team, Red Bull did a fantastic job of using all their weapons at their disposal. And of course Valtteri had this [engine] penalty [of a five-place grid drop], so he was down in the dumps, down the back.
"He wasn't able to get up [to] the front and help out Lewis."
On the role that Bottas could have played, Hill said: "[He] could have been useful, couldn't he? He could have played a part if he'd managed to get ahead of Sergio in the race a little bit.
"But it's so tight. It's absolutely brilliant that it's come to this. We've got these two titans. I think they showed their class and why they are so brilliant.
"Just seeing them extract the very best from the very best drivers there are out there, and it was fantastic to watch."
It's time for the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing the tense strategy battle between Mercedes and Red Bull and much, much more from the United States Grand Prix.