Lewis Hamilton has backed Mercedes' strategy decision to split the tyre strategy for both drivers in the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint.
The seven-time World Champion started on Medium tyres qualifying outside of the top ten, while George Russell started on the Soft.
Russell managed to take the lead in the opening stages from Oscar Piastri, but the McLaren driver had the tyre advantage on his Mediums as the race went on, eventually passing the Mercedes on his way to a first win in F1.
Hamilton also worked his way through the field, overtaking both Ferrari drivers and Fernando Alonso in the closing stages of the Sprint to finish in fifth.
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Hamilton: I would have struggled on Soft
"It was a difficult start with the Medium tyre, it just wasn't firing [up] the same as the Soft tyre," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.
"The guys on the Soft tyre were so quick, so I was gaining positions, losing positions.
"It was actually a really good start and then I got stuck behind these cars, then once we got going and they started having an impact on their tyre I was able to start getting past."
Hamilton backed the tyre strategy from Mercedes, even though he finished behind Russell with the tyre advantage.
"If I had started on the Soft, I would have gained several places perhaps in the beginning," he explained.
"But then long down the road I would have struggled just like everybody else.
"So I think it was important for us to separate the cars, for George to get the information on the Soft."