The seven-time world champion looked favourite to join Max Verstappen on the front row.

Despite ultimately missing out on second, Hamilton was pleased with how much Mercedes have improved particularly given their struggles in Friday practice.

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“Well firstly, absolutely shocked today,” he said. “It was a real surprise to see us so far up front competing for the front row but we did some great work overnight with the analysis. I did a lot of work, I think I was here until like 11 last night trying to figure out where we could find the time. 

“When I woke up this morning I was on a mission. I definitely didn’t expect us to be fighting for the front row. 

“The car really came alive today from P3 and I think ultimately just how our whole package - a big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory as it’s showing that we are progressing which I am so grateful to see and I really enjoyed driving the car today.”

Hamilton revealed that he made a mistake at Turn 10, costing him a couple of tenths in lap time.

“I was basically [on for the] front row up until Turn 10, got into Turn 10, got on the power and the car just snapped into oversteer,” he added. “I will have to see exactly what happened but that’s where I lost two-tenths.

“I am not killer disappointed, maybe if I was fighting for the world championship I would be. I am just encouraged to see where the car is where it is and hopefully tomorrow I can move forwards.”