Lewis Hamilton feels he got close to perfection with his final qualifying lap at the Russian Grand Prix but still missed out on pole position by over four-tenths of a second due to what he called Ferrari’s “jet mode” to excel on the straights.

The Mercedes driver has split the Ferrari duo with Charles Leclerc taking his fourth consecutive pole position while Sebastian Vettel has been shuffled back to third place on the grid in Russia.

Hamilton says there was little he could do to fight against Ferrari’s superior power and top speed on the straights at Sochi, which Mercedes estimates to be worth up to 0.8s per lap, but was pleased with his qualifying efforts for second place having felt his best lap was “pole-worthy” against his own high standards as the sport’s record pole position driver.

“It was a tough qualifying session because these guys have some crazy speeds on the straights, they go into another level on that “party mode” we have, but they have something else, beyond that - jet mode!” Hamilton said.

“Even if we were in the lead or if we were on pole for example, they’re so fast on the straights that by the time they get to Turn 1, the kink, they blast past us with the jet fuel or whatever it is.

“I feel like maybe the last couple of laps have felt pole-worthy in terms of how it’s come together and optimising within the car. Naturally they’re faster than us and I think Charles has done a good job but in terms of being close to the limit as possible, I have been getting more and more comfortable in the car in the second half of the season, a little bit more comfortable even though we’ve lost a bit of performance compared to them.

“It feels like quite an achievement to get in between the two Ferraris, who have got a bit of a delta to us at the moment.”

Hamilton has also backed Mercedes strategy in Q2 to opt for the Mediums, meaning he will start the Russian Grand Prix on more durable tyres compared to Ferrari at the Sochi Autodromo, and hopes to use strategy against the Ferraris to fight for his first win since the Hungarian Grand Prix in August.

“I hope we can use the different strategy and that is why we are on a different tyre so I hope that we can utilise that to keep the pressure on, the last couple of races we’ve been with them and I hope tomorrow we can really give them a good fight,” he said.

“I think the team did a great job to put us on the Mediums. Naturally from the two tyres there’s always a bit of a delta, the softer the tyre the better the start, so it will be tough off the start tomorrow.”

Hamilton, who has 87 pole positions as F1’s all-time top qualifier, has now gone five races without taking a pole position which is his longest run since the end of the 2015 season when he missed out on pole for seven consecutive races.