Lewis Hamilton believes there is a chance that he can end Red Bull Racing's qualifying dominance in Valencia this weekend thanks to the changes in the engine mapping rules.
From this weekend's European Grand Prix, teams are not allowed to change their engine maps between qualifying and the race – which will effectively prevent them from running extreme settings to boost their performance on a Saturday afternoon. With Red Bull Racing's advantage in qualifying believed to be helped by such an engine mapping boost, Hamilton reckons that the competitive picture could be different this time out.
"It is definitely possible," he said, when asked if this weekend's changes could give him the chance of overhauling Red Bull Racing.
"I think if you look at the previous races, every time in Q3 it looks like they have done something with their engine mode which has given them the slight upper hand. And, in the last race, while other people brought a new DRS, Ferrari had a new mode in Q3 which helped them significantly.
"We have had the same mode for a while now and everyone will probably not be using their qualifying modes because their engines would not last, they will use their race mode – and we generally have good race pace so I am hoping that it enables us to be a bit closer in qualifying. Fingers crossed it works for this race."
Hamilton is currently 76 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel in the title chase, and is coming off the back of two disappointing races in Monaco and Montreal. However, Hamilton says he does not feel it essential he delivers a good result in Valencia.
"I've got massive determination but I am going to take the weekend as it comes, if it is another bad one then it is a bad one. There is nothing you can really do about it.
"I am going to do everything I can to have one of the best races of the year so far, but that is the plan every single weekend and sometimes it doesn't go your way. I guess with rule changes as well that might help, too, so fingers crossed."
Speaking about his title chances, Hamilton said: "I am still massively focused on the championship. Of course, I would like to be nice and tight in second or first at the moment, but that is not the case. With the points, though, people can have bad weekends and you can bounce back – it definitely feels like it could be the hardest championship from here to the end of the season. There is a long way to go, but I will not be giving up any time soon."