Sebastian Vettel admitted he almost threw pole position away in Bahrain as he made a mistake on his first run in Q3.
The Ferrari driver will start his 200th grand prix from pole having clocked a 1:27.958 in Saturday’s shoot-out.
It could, however, have been a slightly different story as it was Kimi Raikkonen who led after the first run, helped by a mistake from Vettel.
“That was quite intense,” said the German.
“First run in Q3 I was quite happy but then I tossed it away at the first corner so was really happy that I got a second run.
“I got in clean thorugh the last corner, stayed away from the kerb, and was then looking around to see what the others did.
“The car was excellent all weekend.
“When the car is responding to what you want it to do it is a pleasure, otherwise it is a fight.
“We improved yesterday to today but yeah the car was responding so very pleased.”
Vettel used new running new control electronics in qualifying after an earlier issue in FP3.
He won’t face a grid penalty as is within his allocation for the season.
He added: “I’m feeling good now but tomorrow is a long race and it’s difficult to make the tyres last.
“The car is quick and that usually helps. For now I’m chuffed and for the team as well as we had some issues this morning and we overcame them.”