The seven-time world champion was in contention for his first pole of 2022 and was by far the fastest driver during the early runs of Q3, but ended up slipping to third after Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez found late improvements. 

Hamilton admitted he hoped to replicate his stunning pole lap from 2018 in Singapore but ultimately missed out by just 0.054s to Ferrari’s Leclerc.

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"I was pushing so hard, it was so, so close. It was trying so hard," Hamilton said. "These guys are always so quick, but I really thought maybe with a perfect lap, which was really hard to get, that we could be fighting for first place.

"I just didn't have the grip in the last lap but nonetheless, I'm grateful to be on the second row. And I'm grateful to the team for continuing to push and we just keep our head down, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.”

Hamilton added: "We didn't know how close we would be this weekend. We knew that the car will be stronger than it was in Monza, but we didn't know how close it would be.

"But to lose out by just that was okay. We will just get up and fight again tomorrow.”

Hamilton said he had no explanation for why Mercedes were so competitive in conditions the W13 has traditionally struggled in this season and joked it depends on “what mood the car is in”. 

The 37-year-old admitted a small error at Turn 16 probably cost him pole. 

“Turn 16, I had a bit of an oversteer moment and ran a bit wide in 16 and the rest of that sector just wasn’t that great,” he said. 

“So a bit of time was lost there for sure, which is obviously frustrating.”

Hamilton will be looking to end his 18-race streak without a victory in Sunday’s grand prix in order to preserve his record of being the only F1 driver in history to have won at least one race in every season he has contested. 

But Hamilton will have his work cut to take his fifth victory at a circuit where the polesitter has won eight times in the previous 12 races. 

“Let’s hope we can do something in the race tomorrow,” Hamilton said. 

“It’s very hard to overtake here but maybe we can have a better strategy than these guys.”