Despite failing to finish on the podium in Austin, Lewis Hamilton feels the US Grand Prix represented something of a breakthrough for Mercedes.
Hamilton endured a tough afternoon at the Circuit of the Americas, which included some heated discussions with his race engineer about how to manage his tyres during the race, but was pleased with the team's pace in Texas following a couple of poor performances in the lead-up to the US GP.
"I'm really, really happy," Hamilton told Autosport after the race.
"I feel like I won the race - because I went forwards.
"It's like the first time I've gone forwards since Hungary.
"It was a good feeling to get a good start, and then be able to look after the tyres the way I needed to.
"The tyres didn't die at the end. If I'd have lost out to Fernando [Alonso], I would have let the team down and I didn't want to do that."
Although Hamilton admitted that Mercedes simply have no answer to the pace of Red Bull at this stage of the season, the former World Champion believes they are still locked in battle with Ferrari for second place on the Constructors' Championship.
With one race to go in the Championship, at Interlagos in Brazil this coming weekend, Mercedes hold a slender 15-point advantage over Ferrari.
"It will be such a good feeling if we can finish ahead of Ferrari, that would be huge for the team, and that's what we are working towards," the former McLaren driver continued.
"To be the second best over the whole season compared to Red Bull, to leapfrog Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus would be huge for the guys back at the factory.
"It's not that they've worked any harder this year than the previous years, it's just they weren't seeing the results they deserved the previous years.
"To now finally see the results is big for them, and hopefully that will help in the development for next year."
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