Fernando Alonso thinks Ferrari's gains in Silverstone qualifying were due to genuine progress with the team's development efforts, rather than other squads having been pegged back by the FIA's exhaust rules clampdown.
Amid weekend-long controversy at Silverstone over the implementation of the regulation adjustments, Ferrari was tipped by some rivals as a team likely to benefit from the new situation.
But Alonso said the 0.117-second gap to pole position was just because the Italian squad was catching Red Bull.
"I am very happy, it is best qualifying in terms of the gap to pole position of the year," he said. "We have been more or less averaging one second or seven tenths away and being here in Silverstone at a circuit that is not our preference, being one tenth from pole is good news for us."
Asked if he felt Ferrari had come out of the rules rows in better relative shape, Alonso replied: "Difficult question to answer. I am not a technician but I guess [the improvement] is just for the new parts on the car.
"We have exhausts, diffuser and all these talks - we repeat 100 times... We all lose performance with the new rules and we all lose more or less the same performance, maybe from three tenths to five tenths - but one team cannot lose 1.5 seconds and one team lose one tenth. It is not possible.
"We are third and fourth now, the whole team did a good job - and we are more competitive."
In a later interview with the BBC, Alonso added that he felt the whole rules situation was bad for the sport.
"My thoughts are very simple: it's quite boring," he said. "I think for the fans first of all, also for us here in the paddock because we are just concentrating on the performance of the car and there is a lot of talk about this and meetings and things, but we cannot be distracted by it and we need to make sure we give our 100 percent on the track. That is, I think, what the fans want as well: action, overtaking, qualifying, races.
"For the rules here, as I said we just adapt to whatever rule is written, and for sure some stability is welcome to have the same rules for the whole season or whatever, to have less confusion for the fans. As I said, I think we need to think a little bit of the fans less talk about things that don't happen on the circuit."