Lewis Hamilton staunchly defended his Mercedes engineers by taking aim at the F1 media "myth" that he was unhappy with his changed chassis after qualifying second for the French Grand Prix.
Mercedes has swapped Hamilton's chassis with Valtteri Bottas' at Paul Ricard as part of a planned chassis rotation.
Although Bottas showed more speed across the three practice sessions, Hamilton appeared to struggle with various radio transmissions indicating his displeasure.
However, after coming within two-and-a-half tenths of polesitter and championship rival Max Verstappen, Hamilton insisted his unhappiness with the car had nothing to do with the chassis change.
"It has been a really, really hard weekend," conceded Hamilton.
"Mentally, not physically but just trying to get the car up into a happy place. You wouldn't believe how many changes I have made since practice one, going round and round kind of chasing our tail, ended up kind of coming back to something kind of similar to where we started.
"But I have been generally unhappy in the car all weekend. I saw you coming up with some myth, so I was happy to be able to prove it wrong.
"The quality of our engineers' work, all of our cars are exactly the same."
On Verstappen's efforts, the seven-time champion added: "Congratulations to Max, he did a great job today and he was incredibly quick.
"We see they have got a new engine this weekend, not a new spec or anything as far as I am aware but anyway, they are quick down the straight.
"I think there was a lot of time on the straight today so we have got a race on our hands and we are loving the battle. We are going to keep pushing and fighting and giving it everything."
Hamilton excited by the chance of rain
The chance of rain for race day has diminished since the beginning of the weekend but Hamilton is hoping to be able to see the best drivers in the world show what they can do.
On his hopes for the race, he said: "In practice, it was a real struggle and on our long run pace, I think they were a tenth or two quicker than us, but my car is in a much different place now so I am going to just stay hopeful and do everything I can.
"In second, you have got a fighting chance at least into turn one and there is going to be some interesting strategy tomorrow and maybe a bit of rain so we potentially will get to see the rain masters get to do their thing. Yeah, I am excited."
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