Lewis Hamilton has denied that pressure played a part in his pit entry mistake during qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton and Mercedes had dominated the early stages of qualifying, topping Q1 and Q2, and setting the pace in Q3 before the switch from Intermediate tyres to slicks, as a drenched Sochi Autodrom circuit gradually dried up.
When boxing for a set of Soft tyres, Hamilton misjudged his entry to the pit lane and slid into the wall, costing him valuable time as mechanics changed his damaged front wing, while his initially warm slicks cooled down out of the blankets.
Hamilton eventually rejoined the track but spun out on his cold tyres, meaning he had to settle for fourth position behind surprise pole-sitter Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and future teammate George Russell.
"It's really nothing to do with pressure, honestly," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked about the pit entry error, and whether the title fight with Max Verstappen is playing a role.
"It really wasn't a pressure scenario, it is literally just [that] mistakes can happen.
"I basically I came into the pits, I knew that I didn't have a huge amount of time, and I was attacking, just trying to get through the pit lane as quickly as possible, because I knew that I was going to need as much time on track as possible.
"In the previous laps, the previous times coming in the pit lane, when we could take it really quite slowly, I thought the track was drying and the grip was quite good. I came in and just took a little bit quicker than normal, and lost the back end and slid into the wall.
"So yes, of course, [it was] embarrassing, and I'm disappointed in myself, but s**t happens – we all make mistakes."
Hamilton added that his usual high level of performance makes any errors feel worse.
"The problem when you have the success that I have is that anything but perfection feels like a long way off. But, you know, I'm only human," he said.
"My dad called me afterwards and we talked about it. You just move on, right? I'll get my racing head back on, back focused, and hopefully bring a good race."
Although he is set to start on the second row of the grid, Mercedes remained coy about the possibility of Hamilton following Verstappen in taking a fourth power unit – and grid penalty – for Sunday's race.
On Saturday night, a Mercedes team spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny a grid penalty for Hamilton, when asked for an update by RacingNews365.com, saying: "Let's wait and see what we do."
In our latest RacingNews365.com video, we take a look at how grid penalties could be a crucial factor in the intense title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen