Lewis Hamilton feels he would have been starting on pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix had fuel pump issues not compromised his qualifying effort.
Locked in a competitive battle for pole position with the revitalised Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton lost time at the start of Q3 when technical issues brought him to a halt at the end of the pit lane.
Though he would get out again before the end, he was forced to steadily build up to his fastest lap, completing three revolutions before attempting to go for pole position with his final effort. However, despite setting the fastest first sector time, Hamilton fell short by the end of the lap to leave him third.
Visibly frustrated at yet more technical dramas – having also been compromised during qualifying in China and Russia -, Hamilton is convinced he would have challenged for pole position without the setbacks.
“Didn't have any mistakes, I had traffic,” he said. “I did an out-lap, a warm-up lap, went to push, had traffic, people coming out to start their second run, and when I wanted to push, I just had to drive around because I was out of sync again I had to wait until I was on the same lap as everyone else, so I did three laps…
“Absolutely [I could have challenged]. I can't say it was going to be pole for sure, but definitely in contention.”
With the issue traced to a fuel pump problem prompted by high temperatures – a product of the shorter laps and turnarounds at Monaco -, Hamilton says he at the time was resigning himself to tenth on the grid as he was pushed back up the pit lane
“Initially, I was hoping it was just a hiccup but it kept happening. I hoped it would go away. I thought we'd be starting from tenth again. My only thought was that I hope I get out to do at least one lap.”