Lewis Hamilton admitted he was lucky to even make it past the first stage of qualifying despite securing third on the grid for the Korean Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver was given a huge scare when he found himself tumbling down the times in the closing seconds of Q1 as others improved their times - while Hamilton himself was sitting back in the pits.

Luckily for the Briton, Bruno Senna was unable to improve on his final lap which allowed Hamilton to squeeze through in 17th place, with Q2 then passing without major drama.

Hamilton would then emerge as the closest challenger to the two Red Bull's in the final stage of qualifying although the 2008 title winner admitted he was lucky to have even got that far.

"Definitely," he replied when asked if he had been concerned as the clock ticked down in Q1. "It was quite a shocking session for me. I didn't get a lap, did quite a poor job when the tyres weren't so bad temperature-wise. I just had a bit of traffic, locking up. It was very poor. But I'm very lucky that I got through."

Having made it through to Q3, Hamilton admitted he had got the maximum out of the car

"In Q3 I'll happily admit that I ragged the life out of the car and got everything from it, yet Mark and Seb both claim they had a little bit left over," he said. "We'll see. I think it will be very tough to get ahead of them but we've put ourselves in as good a position as we could. It was very tough this weekend, these guys have clearly made quite a big step within the last two races and so we've just got to keep pushing.

"We're not far off and the race pace for Jenson looked quite good yesterday. I'm just happy I got a clear lap and was able to put it as high up as possible."