Meanwhile, Hamilton shut down claims made by Mercedes chief Toto Wolff – who claimed that the 37-year-old could have taken pole position. Wolff pointed out that Hamilton was a “tenth up on Verstappen and Leclerc”.
“I think that’s highly optimistic,” Hamilton responded. “I think that was still a bit too quick. But I think [the] front row was possible.”
Mercedes have seen a huge improvement in performance, but there remains some inconsistency. “We’re much happier coming in this weekend to have a car that’s potentially fighting for a front row,” Hamilton added.
“I don’t understand [how] one weekend it can be so far off and the next weekend, all of a sudden, we’re right there. So I think it’s confusing for sure. But lots of positives to take from today. I think if we hadn’t had the yellow flag we’d have been hopefully potentially fighting for the front row, so that’s really positive.”