Christian Horner said he “nearly got my violin out” when he heard Lewis Hamilton’s comments about Ferrari’s apparent engine advantage at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Following his defeat to chief title rival Sebastian Vettel and having seen his championship lead trimmed to 17 points at Spa, Hamilton suggested Ferrari had “trick things” on its car after the German controlled proceedings.

Mercedes has seen its dominance of the V6 hybrid era come under threat from a renewed charge by Ferrari this season, and after Vettel breezed past Hamilton along the Kemmel Straight on the opening lap, the Briton was left frustrated by Scuderia’s progress.

In a post-race interview with Sky Sports F1, Red Bull team principal Horner showed little signs of sympathy for Hamilton, having witnessed his side struggle to match Mercedes and Ferrari in engine power in recent years – leading the Milton Keynes squad to favour Honda power over Renault from 2019.

Horner said: "We need to make a step. As you can see, Ferrari and Mercedes... just to hear Lewis moaning about Ferrari, I nearly got my violin out!

"But the gap is significant. I think if we just close that, and Honda are making great progress, they're scoring points regularly, Pierre [Gasly] has been very, very upbeat about them and you can see they're making headways."

F1 race director Charlie Whiting was left “amused” by the reference made by Hamilton, who later clarified his comments and stressed he was not inferring Ferrari was doing anything illegal with its 2018 challenger.