Sebastian Vettel has conceded that he had no idea “what Hamilton did” to storm to pole position in such a sudden, dominant manner.
Vettel was the man to beat heading into the top 10 shoot-out as he topped the timesheets in Q2 and was within a tenth of Hamilton after the first attacking laps of Q3.
But Hamilton found almost an extra second on his final attempt and cruised to a record seventh pole position by six tenths, leaving Vettel at a bit of loss to describe what his rival did.
“I don’t know what he did to find that much time, maybe he didn’t wake up until the end,” Vettel said.
“I could maybe get to within half a second of that providing my lap was absolutely perfect.
“But overall I’m pretty happy. It wasn’t very good yesterday, today was a lot better. I’m quite happy that we put the cars right at the front, very close to pole. That gives us a good shot.
“The last four years everyone’s been closer to Mercedes in the race than in qualifying so hope on that.”
Vettel also said he was not too bothered about being out-qualifed by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who will start on the front row with Hamilton.
“In the end I had a tiny mistake in the last sector,” he added.
“But it doesn’t matter, second or third, we got it for the team. Obviously it’s a good position to be in and hopefully we can keep the pressure up tomorrow.”