Lewis Hamilton says a problem with charging his Mercedes battery pack during Q3 meant he was out of sync with his original qualifying run plan but believes the gap to pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas was purely down to the Finn’s performance.

Hamilton had to settle for second place in qualifying for the third race in a row as Bottas completed a hat-trick of consecutive pole positions following on from China and Azerbaijan.

The reigning F1 world champion was beaten by the Finn by an eye-catching 0.634s in Q3 at Circuit de Catalunya which led to Hamilton revealing a battery charge issue which disrupted his rhythm.

“The last couple of laps in Q3 in particular just weren’t strong and I had to go out a little early as I came in early with a low battery pack,” Hamilton said. “I had to go out first ahead of everyone and ultimately it just wasn’t a good enough job.

“It was okay, it could have better for sure, but Valtteri did a fantastic job particularly when he made it in Q3 so it was a bit of an attack in Q3 for me. It happens.

“But otherwise really happy and proud for the team and the upgrades we were able to bring for this weekend to eek out the gap to the Ferraris.”

While Hamilton was able to bolt into the lead at the first corner in China starting behind Bottas on the front row, he didn’t find a way past in Azerbaijan and faces the same challenge for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“I’ll be giving it everything. It is great for the team to have this one-two and hopefully we convert it in the race and I want to reverse it,” he said.

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