Lewis Hamilton believes being in a “different headspace” heading into qualifying for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix helped him achieve his latest pole position.

Hamilton beat the Ferrari duo headed by Sebastian Vettel to pole in Austin with a lap that was just 0.061s quicker than his chief title rival, who will be relegated to fifth on the grid when he serves his red flag speeding penalty.

The top three were split by just 0.070s after two qualifying runs in Q3 and the Briton, who can seal his fifth world championship on Sunday if he outscores Vettel by eight points, was relieved to have secured the 81st pole of his career during what he described as an “intense” session.

"I knew it was going to take perfection and neat laps to outpace them," Hamilton explained.

"The first lap was good but it was quite close between us all and being that I was less than one tenth ahead I knew the next lap these guys would improve also, so there was no room for error.

"Considering there's been some Q3s in past races where I have had to bail out of the second lap because it was not good enough, so I was very strict with myself today, to pull through the second lap and I’m so grateful that I did.

"I think the approach from us has been very sturdy, we've not been getting ahead of ourselves,” he added. “I'm so happy.

“It was a different feeling today coming in. I don't know why. I don't know if I slept longer or what but I was in a different headspace going into qualifying, which is weird, but it was a good one."

Hamilton stressed his lap was not perfect but was pleased to have made the most of his final flying effort, after Ferrari closed the gap to Mercedes in the United States following comprehensive defeats in Russia and Japan.

"It wasn’t the perfect lap,” he said. “Naturally I think that’s what we were all striving to achieve but there are just so many different parameters out there.

“There are different gusts on winds every time you hit a corner, tyre temperature differences and you are really just on your tippy toes the whole way, trying to catch it and grab it, utilising the grip.

"The first section for some reason they were particularly quick there. Some of that it is Turn 1, I would say mostly, they generally have a car that's better in corners like that.

“The rest of the lap was good, there were no mistakes. The first lap was quite good but there was a little bit of time in the exit of a couple of corners – at Turn 11, Turn 12, maybe 13 and a little bit in 20.

"That second one I was able to capitalise and I didn’t drop the ball."