The team had a difficult race in Bahrain, with unexpected power unit temperature issues afflicting both cars from the early stages.

George Russell slipped back from an early second to finish fifth, while Hamilton moved up to seventh from ninth on the grid, having gained places from Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri.

The seven-time world champion reported battery issues early in the race, and also suffered with brake temperatures and a broken seat.

Despite those woes, and describing it as a “super average race”, he was in a positive mood after the flag given the potential of the car.

“I feel good – I don't feel downbeat,” said Hamilton regarding his race.

“But what I feel is that the last couple of years, we've had all these problems. And we spent several races undoing all those problems, like trying to figure out what those problems were, as opposed to now we have a platform that we can start adding shit to, adding bricks and stuff.

“So now it's a building process from here, and I think we're a great team in doing that.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, is interviewed after Qualifying

Hamilton faced a catalogue of problems during the race, losing ground to rivals in the early stages.

“For a while like my battery was dead, so down the straights I was just derating the whole way down the straight,” he said when asked about his troubles by

“So I lost a lot of ground to the McLarens. I was fixing that out for some laps, and that took a good 10 laps, and I lost plenty of seconds through that.

“And then, after that, was just really trying to get back on it, and catch up, as soon we got that fixed. And then there was a bit of overheating of the brakes. And then in general, the performance was so-so.”

Regarding his brake temperature issues, he said: “We didn't know how it was going to be today, but it definitely was worse than we planned.”

One of the few highlights for Hamilton was using the undercut to pass Piastri, and overtaking the McLaren driver as he emerged from the pits.

“Yeah, I had a little bit of fun,” he said. “And then I was catching at the end, I was feeling racier towards the end. But the gap was so big, I lost so much at the beginning of the race that unfortunately I was just out of it.”

On Friday, Hamilton suggested that he has a car that he can fight with, in contrast to the two previous years.

Asked if he’d been able to see evidence of that, despite the Bahrain problems, he said: “Too early to tell. The set-up wasn't ideal today.

“We're very close to the McLarens. But, if I had qualified better, I would probably easily have finished fifth today even with the problems. So I think take that out of it, and I probably wouldn't have been crazy far behind a Ferrari. But we're still third quickest.”