"It's a real bonus for us to be so high up, and that's all down to the hard work that the team have put into this car, I can't thank them enough," he added. "It's going to be tough to keep these positions tomorrow but we'll give it our best shot."
Asked why Rosberg had such an edge over him at the end of Q3, Hamilton admitted that he hadn't quite got the set-up of his car where he wanted it.
"I've not been totally happy with the balance of my car all weekend, even today, so we need to look at it this evening and see what we can do for the race," he said. "Limiting the degradation is going to be my major challenge as the general pace isn't too bad."
"We have worked all weekend with the race in mind but it is clear that we are harder on the tyres than some of our rivals," echoed Mercedes director of motorsports Toto Wolff. "It was a nice surprise for us to see both cars at the top of the times this afternoon but we know that Sunday afternoon is a more complicated challenge for us."
"We have worked diligently this weekend to find the right solutions to improve our performance and consistency in race conditions," added Ross Brawn. "Now we need to get through the first stint, which will certainly be interesting on the option tyre, and then see how our race develops."