Lewis Hamilton doesn't believe his mistake in qualifying cost him pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Having been quickest throughout all three practice sessions, Hamilton saw team-mate Nico Rosberg set the provisional pole time on the first run in Q3 by over a quarter of a second. On his final run Hamilton then made an error at Turn 1, but said Rosberg was just the faster of the two drivers.

"If I had obviously finished my lap then maybe I would have closed [the gap] a little bit but still, he was quicker through qualifying," Hamilton admitted.

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Asked about his error specifically, Hamilton said: "I braked a little bit later and then just locked, so not really much else to say about it."

With qualifying seeing a turnaround in the form based on the practice sessions, Hamilton said it was natural that his advantage had closed up over the weekend.

"In general it's always easier to catch your team-mate. When you start the weekend and there's a little bit of a gap you go through all the data and bit by bit you close that gap. If you're ahead, whether it's Nico or me, it's harder to keep eking out more and more because you're already on the limit. His weekend has kind of got better and my weekend has kind of gone the other way in terms of pace, but he did a great job through qualifying and you can't get it always perfect."

And having enjoyed a significant advantage in terms of pace and fuel consumption in the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend, Hamilton says Rosberg is unlikely to have similar issues on Sunday.

"There was a lot of analysis done on all my data by Nico, so Nico's been studying that throughout the weekend and he applied those through the long stint yesterday which worked well for him. So until I find something else you won't be seeing the gap as big as that, but hopefully at some stage I'll find something."

With the two Mercedes cars looking in dominant form once again, Hamilton confirmed that they are still free to race each other and he doesn't foresee any issues if an on-track battle emerges.

"There aren't really any rules of engagement. We just need to be sensible - as we are - and respectful. The primary target is points for the team, so we'll balance that out but at the end of the day we want to win. I'm sure we'll be fine."