Lewis Hamilton has called on his Mercedes team to dig deeper than ever before and keep alive his dream of winning a record-breaking eighth world crown.
Hamilton slipped from 12 to 19 points behind Max Verstappen following the Red Bull driver’s comprehensive victory in Mexico on Sunday.
With just four rounds left and 107 points available, time is running out for Hamilton to prevent Verstappen from clinching a maiden title.
‘Left it all out there’
However, despite his setback in Mexico City, Hamilton, who finished 16.5 seconds behind his Red Bull rival, said: “I left it all out there and sometimes that is not enough.
“We pick ourselves up, dig deeper than we have before and keep on fighting.”
Verstappen’s triumph took him to nine for the season, four more than Hamilton, who has only won on one occasion since the summer break in August.
But Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insists his superstar driver can still make history this year.
“I am a pretty realistic person, but I love motor racing because anything can happen,” he said.
“None of us are leaving this circuit with the mentality that the championship is slipping away from us.
“There are four races to go, four wins to take, four DNFs to suffer and we will continue fighting.
“We know we have a great team and we have it all to win. However, when you look at the mathematical probability I would rather be 19 points ahead than behind.”
Hamilton was able to take some consolation from splitting Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez at a track which plays to Red Bull’s strengths.
But the 36-year-old will renew his rivalry with Verstappen this weekend at Interlagos – the Brazilian venue which has favoured Verstappen in recent seasons.
Red Bull’s double podium finish also moved them to within just one point of Mercedes in the constructors’ race.
Wolff added: “We leave Mexico – the circuit we probably regarded as one of the worst ones for us – and we go to Brazil which hasn’t been much better in the past.
“But we believe we can have a solid car and be closer to Red Bull than we were here.
“I hope we can break the pattern because it has been a Bull track. We are going to give it all and try to fight back.”
After Sunday’s round in Brazil, Formula One will head straight to Doha for the first Qatar Grand Prix before two concluding rounds in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi on December 5th and December 12th.