Lewis Hamilton suspects Ferrari has found a performance advantage in the operation of its DRS, in addition to improved performance from its power unit.

“They’ve shown they’ve been very quick on the straights,” said Hamilton after being beaten to pole position by Sebastian Vettel. “They’ve got a very strong DRS in particular, quite efficient DRS as far as I’m aware.”

“I’ve not looked at the data so I don’t know where they are faster than us and where we’re faster than them,” he added. “But obviously they’ve made a big step forward this year and they are the number one team to beat at the moment.”

Hamilton’s best time through the middle sector of the lap was four tenths of a second slower than Ferrari’s best. “I can’t really explain it,” he said. “I think they have a little bit more downforce than us.”

The world champion said he is encouraged by the gains the team made overnight with his car.

“Ferrari have been so dominant in the last couple of races and pace-wise we knew that they would be very quick here. Which they have been all weekend. I think Red Bull also looked really promising, not sure what happened to them.

“We were struggling yesterday, but we came into today and the engineers did some really great work last night to understand where we were and how we could progress forwards, so a big thank you to them for all their hard work.

“Today was much more reasonable car. There were still areas where we were lacking but it’s a work in progress I would say and to be that close to the Ferraris is definitely a positive and to have me and Valtteri up there is a good booster for the team, to be right there in up in the mix.”

2018 F1 season

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