It was the first time since 2013 that Mercedes hasn’t clinched pole position at the Circuit of the Americas - a circuit that Hamilton has won at on five previous occasions.

Hamilton believes that Red Bull has simply improved its car throughout the weekend, while Mercedes hasn’t.

“Yeah it was fun, it was definitely a difficult session,” Hamilton said after qualifying. “I would say for us, since FP1 it’s been a little bit tougher, making a lot of changes trying to improve the car. It’s been a real challenge.

“Going into qualifying, the first session wasn’t that great. Q1 wasn’t spectacular, but started to improve particularly on the medium tyre. The last two runs were pretty good. I think they’ve just been pretty quick all weekend and I think we were able to match them or be ahead in FP1 but since then they’ve really pulled a lot.

“You can tell the car is quick, because both of them are up there and putting in some seriously good laps. But we’re in a good position to fight them tomorrow and I hope we can.”

After dominating first practice, Mercedes struggled to build on its impressive early pace.

Hamilton conceded that it’s been “a challenge” to get his Mercedes car and tyres into the correct window with overheating a recurring issue due to the hot temperatures.

“It started off good, it felt pretty good through FP1, then bit by bit, they got a little bit faster,” Hamilton added. I don’t know if we got slower but it’s been a real struggle with the car, compared to when we’re normally here.

“Part of it is probably overheating the tyres, which is affecting I’m sure everyone, but yeah it’s been a challenge.”