Lewis Hamilton has confirmed he and Mercedes 'never discussed' attempting a tow during qualifying that played a key role in landing Max Verstappen pole position for the F1 title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton appeared favourite for the top spot on the grid after finishing quickest in the second and third practice sessions at a reprofiled Yas Marina Circuit and comfortably ahead at the end of Q1.
Come Q3, however, Verstappen and Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez executed a perfect tow that at the end of the first run resulted in the Dutch driver being over half a second quicker than Hamilton.
Although Hamilton managed to cut the gap on the second run, the seven-time F1 champion still ended up a staggering 0.371s adrift.
"For sure, that first run was very nice, and a nice tow and nicely executed as well," assessed Verstappen.
"Whatever the gap was, I might have gained a tenth towards turn nine, which is not a massively long straight.
"Nevertheless, Checo is a great team-mate, a real pleasure to work with, so a big thank you to him."
Asked whether Mercedes had considered following suit given its obvious benefits, Hamilton replied: "No, it wasn't discussed. We've never, ever really done that.
"I like Valtteri to focus on...we work as a team and Valtteri needed to get the best job done for himself to have both of us as high up as possible.
"It's never something we discuss or we work on and I don't believe it should have been done."