Lewis Hamilton says he is grateful to have salvaged third place on the grid for the Monaco Grand Prix after more technical issues in qualifying very nearly eliminated him from contention.
Though under pressure to fight for pole position in the wake of a rapid upturn in form from Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo, Hamilton was left compromised from the start of Q3 anyway when he brought his Mercedes W07 to a halt at the end of the pit lane.
With the issue quickly diagnosed as a fuel pressure problem, though Hamilton got back out onto track, he was forced to build up to his final flying effort. As such, though he was quickest in sector one, a slower final sector would leave him behind both Ricciardo and, crucially, Nico Rosberg.
The third time this season that gremlins in qualifying have hampered Hamilton's efforts, though he survived to get up onto the second row, the disappointment at yet another set-back was evident.
“It was a difficult qualifying and I don't really know what to say at the moment,” he lamented. “The good thing is that I did get out to do a lap at least so it wasn't as bad as some of the races have been in that respect with the engine problems. I'm grateful to be up in third. Obviously, pole was there for the taking I think but nonetheless I'll do what I can tomorrow in the race to salvage what I can from today's result.”
Indeed, Hamilton says he is hoping the forecast rain will arrive to potentially shake up the order, even if he admits it is dependent on if his car holds together.
“If the car keeps going, then I'll be fighting as hard as I can with these guys, but you can't overtake here and, if Daniel is on a different strategy, it will be hard. So we'll see… maybe it rains – that'd be pretty amazing!”
Hamilton – who is yet to win a race this season - comes into the weekend with a 43 point deficit to Rosberg at the head of the standings.