Lewis Hamilton says the high-speed final sector of the Circuit Paul Ricard is where his Mercedes W13 is losing the most time to Ferrari and Red Bull.
Although the Briton qualified P4 for Sunday's French Grand Prix, his best time of 1:31.765 was nearly one second adrift of polesitter Charles Leclerc, and Hamilton revealed that the long final sector at Paul Ricard did not suit his Mercedes W13.
"In the last lap, my first sector was just as quick as the guys ahead," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"But then we lose a lot down the straights, I think at least half a second, and then all through that high-speed section in the last few corners.
"It's like [Ferrari and Red Bull] have less drag and more downforce on all the corners.
"The last sector was like six, seven tenths or something crazy. A lot of it's just full throttle.
"Some of it's just that drag, but for some reason, they were able to go much quicker through the high-speed corners than us, so I don't know. We just keep working away."
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Wolff: Mercedes were not good enough
After a difficult start to the season, Mercedes have narrowed the gap to Ferrari and Red Bull in recent races, with Hamilton taking consecutive third places in the last three races, and leading several laps of the British Grand Prix.
Such an upturn in form prompted some to suggest that Mercedes may soon be joining Ferrari and Red Bull in a three-team fight for race wins.
But Team Principal Toto Wolff poured cold water on such ambitions at Paul Ricard, saying after qualifying that the Silver Arrows' performance was not good enough.
Wolff did however pay tribute to Hamilton's performance during qualifying, saying that the Briton was transcending the potential of the W13.
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