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Lewis Hamilton was frustrated to be asked to make the call on whether to pit under a virtual safety car during the Miami Grand Prix.
It seemed like Hamilton would take advantage of the opportunity to switch onto fresh tyres after Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly collided, as team-mate George Russell did.
However, Mercedes appeared to dither on whether to pit the seven-time champion, who eventually opted to stay out on the hard compound.
Hamilton ended up being overtaken by Russell in the closing stages and finished directly behind him in sixth, with the two Ferraris coming between race winner Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
The Mercedes driver did not understand why he was left to make the call on whether to pit or not.
"In that scenario [the virtual safety car], I have no clue where everyone is, so when the team say it's your choice, I don't have the information to make the decision," Hamilton told Sky Sports.
"That's what your job is, make the decision for me; you've got all the details, I don't. So, that's what you rely on the guys for, but today they gave it to me and I didn't understand it.
"But anyway, it's just been a bit unfortunate with the safety car, but at least we got points today. We're finishing, reliability is good. I'm excited to at some stage to take a step forward, which we haven't yet."
Team principal Toto Wolff revealed Mercedes are struggling for morale as the usually dominant team continue to find themselves quite a distance behind Red Bull and Ferrari this season.
"George stayed out a long time, and we were betting on a safety car for him and that materialised from nowhere, but it went against Lewis, who lost a position," said Wolff.
"At the end of the day, there's no happy or not happy moment at the moment. It's just a bit down. We're third quickest on the road, which is no man's land. This is where we are.
"We're not as quick in qualifying sometimes, and you have the outliers, and we go back to where we are, which is behind the Red Bulls and Ferrari."
Russell, who failed to get out of Q2 on Saturday and started 12th, believes Mercedes do have a good car this year but are yet to find a way to get it working well for them.
"It was mixed feelings. Based on [Saturday] it was a good result. We have a fast race car in there, we don't have the key to unlock it. There's more to do," he said.
"It's frustrating, but I'm sure we'll get there at some point.
"It's good, when you battle with your team-mate, you show more respect, give more space. I enjoyed it. I think there's good respect between us. I was pushing as hard as I could."