Lewis Hamilton noted his progress in Saturday’s afternoon’s Miami Grand Prix qualifying, having reached contrary to Friday the session’s top-ten shootout.

Nevertheless, the Mercedes driver, who will line up 8th on Sunday’s grid, admitted that his 0.826s deficit to poleman Max Verstappen was still “tough” to withstand.

Hamilton singled out his inability to consistently extract the most from his tyres as the man issue that weighed on his performance.

“Generally, it has been a much better day, I would say,” commented the Briton who was P12 in Friday’s sprint qualifying session.

“We went forwards, at least, in the first race, the sprint race. And then qualifying, getting into Q3, which is a positive.

“Q3 wasn’t really great, but I’m grateful to have got into there. But for us to be eight tenths off, it’s tough.”

Hamilton was outpaced in Q3 by just 0.040s by his Mercedes teammate George Russell, while he was 0.039s clear of ninth-place man Nico Hulkenberg for Haas.

“We’re obviously fighting the Haas and I don’t know if that’s the true speed of our car or whether it’s the tyres,” he said.

“I think there’s a lot in these tyres. We’re just struggling. We’ve not been able to use them all year.”

Hamilton actually set the third fastest lap in the second segment of qualifying, an effort that was almost half a second better than his best flyer on the soft tyre in Q3.

Despite similar track conditions, he was unable to replicate his Q2 performance in the final shootout.

“The track temperature was pretty similar, I would say, all the way through and the grip of the track felt really good as well,” he said.

“But these tyres are so sensitive and trying to get the tyres to work and to deliver the maximum potential throughout the whole lap is something that I would say we are struggling with.

“We had that glimpse of hope in Q2, and then Q3 was nowhere,” he said.

“We have seen once again how difficult it is to get the tyres in the right window,” added Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

“We of course don’t blame the tyres for that, and we need to look at ourselves and our car to understand how we can get the tyres more consistently into the correct operating window.”

The Austrian revealed that the Brackley squad made some changes to its cars after Saturday’s Sprint that will hopefully prove beneficial in Sunday’s race.

“In the Sprint, cars that were quick on the straight but not necessarily through the corners were able to hold position. We had more pace but couldn’t show it.

“We therefore made some changes after the Sprint that will hopefully help us in the race tomorrow. We are starting slightly further forward than we were this morning so let’s see what we can do.”

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