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Hamilton plays down Russell contact: It was a misunderstanding

After Lewis Hamilton and George Russell made contact with each other during Qualifying, the elder Briton played down the incident's significance.

Lewis Hamilton has played down a bizarre incident during Q2 where he and teammate George Russell made contact with each other on the main straight, causing minor damage to Hamilton's front wing and bodywork. Hamilton called the incident a misunderstanding, and said it had not seriously affected his Qualifying session. "We were sent out at different times," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com . "Everyone's starting [their push laps] from Turn 12, so when I came out of Turn 12, there was no one ahead, so I got on the gas and started to pick up the pace. "I came out of 13 and George looked like he was going into the pit lane, so I kept it going and then he suddenly cut back across, which is obviously a bit confusing because I didn't even know he was there. I think he bailed out of his first lap, or something like that. "So then I was towing [behind] him, just in case he was giving me a tow, and he started to move to the right, and then he started coming across, so just a misunderstanding. "I had front wing damage and I don't know what was damaged on the floor. But either way, we couldn't compete with the Red Bull."

Hamilton hails improved Mercedes form

Hamilton added that he had much more confidence in his Mercedes W14 now than he had had during Friday's running. The Briton had failed to finish inside the top ten in either of Friday's practice sessions, and had said he was worried about not being able to make it into the top ten Qualifying shootout. However, an improved performance on Saturday saw Hamilton finish Qualifying in fourth place, and a likely grid drop for Pierre Gasly means the Briton is set to line up third on the grid for Sunday’s race. "I think we've made some really great progress with the car," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com . "Today, for us to be fighting for P2 was a big surprise. "We did some great work overnight and the car really felt so much better this morning, so just had so much more confidence in the car. "Yesterday it was bouncing a lot more. Today I didn't really have much bouncing." "These upgrades have definitely worked, and so a big, big thank you to everyone back home, massively encouraging."

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