“But the most important thing is that we really have the pace and slowly but surely we are going forward and learning the lessons for next year. I’m annoyed about not being on pole, because it would have ticked a box, but then equally having Max with his top speed advantage behind us would have been a problem tomorrow.
“And starting second and third can be advantageous and I hope we can stick our nose, or both noses, into turn one and then disappear into the distance. But definitely that’s going to be difficult.”
Many expected Hamilton to take the fight to Verstappen given that, in the Mercedes garage, the balance of power has shifted towards him and away from Russell in recent weeks. It’s the latter that will occupy the front row on Sunday, however, and afterwards he explained how it could have been even better.