Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes' clear pace advantage on the first day of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza was not primarily down to having an upgraded power unit at its disposal, insisting the engine 'feels the same'.
Mercedes revealed ahead of the race weekend that it had used all seven of its remaining in-season development tokens with a view to getting a head-start on developing greater fuel efficiency for 2016, with the engine getting its first run in the W06 in FP1 and FP2.
Proving quick from the off, neither Hamilton nor Nico Rosberg were troubled by other rivals over the course of the day, with the championship leader finishing Friday on top, albeit by a mere 0.021secs.
However, despite the eight tenths gap back to Sebastian Vettel in third place, Hamilton dismissed the sizeable margin as being down to the engine upgrade, insisting the changes are more geared towards ensuring efficiency and reliability, rather than outright speed.
“It feels the same,” he said. “It's more changes that they did to improve reliability because we've got a long way to go still this season. The engine feels fantastic, it is a fantastic engine, but it feels the same.”
Despite the marginal gap to Rosberg, Hamilton says there is still performance to find from the first two sectors heading into qualifying.
“I didn't actually have particularly great first and second sectors, this morning was much better. I hope [to find] more time.”