Lewis Hamilton admits he was "really surprised" to see Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams able to fight Mercedes for pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix.

While the end result was another Mercedes one-two - with Hamilton beating team-mate Nico Rosberg by just 0.007s - Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo both had spells on provisional pole as the top eight cars were covered by less than half a second. Hamilton said he had built up to his final lap and enjoyed the challenge of having so many drivers in with a chance of pole.

"As a driver through the weekend you plan to have the last lap as your fastest lap," Hamilton said. "It's when the track is at its best, it's when you've got the configurations as close to perfect as possible, so that's really the lap you want to do it on.

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"The others have just obviously taken a step, it's a real, real surprise. I'm sure the team is surprised as I am really surprised to see Ferrari really competing over the lap, which is great to see. Also Williams and Red Bull, so I think it's great. That's probably the most exciting qualifying session that I've had for a long time where there's a lot of people really in the mix and you have to be so on it."

Hamilton conceded a lock-up at Turn 1 had left him thinking he would be unable to take pole position, giving him belief that he has more time in hand for the race.

"I didn't really have a clean lap through the whole of qualifying. The last one was the cleanest, but when you do your first lap you get your lap time and the next time you go out you have a delta so you know whether you're up or down on that lap. When I locked up in to Turn 1 and missed the apex I was down 0.18s or 0.2s by the time I got to Turn 5.

"At that point I was thinking it would be almost impossible to regain that but the previous lap was a couple of corners as well so I fixed those and got back the time. So it's great because there's still potential there."