Lewis Hamilton admitted he had given his all in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix after securing a slot on the third row of the grid.
The McLaren man was once again unable to match the pace of Red Bull pairing Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel during the session, and also saw Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa go quicker in the vital final stage of qualifying.
While he admits that the Woking-based team still has work to do against its rivals, Hamilton said he was still confident going into the race and insisted that 'it isn't over until it's over'.
“I put everything into those three qualifying sessions, especially on my last flying lap, when I literally got every last drop of performance from the car – there was absolutely nothing left!” he said. “Today, I touched all the barriers I could possibly touch and used all the road I could possibly use, so I'm happy with my performance.
“But it's clear that the Red Bulls have more downforce than we do, particularly in the middle sector, and it's evident that we need to find a decent step in performance to keep up with them in future. They can get onto full throttle earlier than we can, and they can carry more speed into the corners, and that gives them greater confidence to attack.
“But we're definitely getting there, and it's very close on the grid ahead of me. It would have been great to have been on pole, but the race is tomorrow, I'm on the inside line for the start and it's not over 'til it's over.”
With Jenson Button eighth on the grid, team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted that McLaren faces a battle on race day but said both drivers were capable of scoring good points.
“As always on race day at Monaco, grid positions will be crucial, and undoubtedly we'll have a battle on our hands tomorrow,” he said. “But, as I've said before and don't apologise for saying again, both Jenson and Lewis are supremely combative race drivers – and, even at Monaco, where it's notoriously difficult to overtake, they'll be doing their utmost to convert their starting positions into the maximum possible points haul.”