Lewis Hamilton admitted he thought he had thrown the chance of pole position away at the Singapore Grand Prix with a first-corner lock-up.
The Mercedes driver snatched pole from team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.007 seconds on Saturday but only after correcting an early error on his final flying lap.
Hamilton felt he had blown his chance of a sixth pole of the season at that point but the Briton rectified the situation to snatch top place in one minute 45.681secs.
It left the 29-year-old delighted but Rosberg was disheartened given he had only just knocked Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo off provisional pole.
"On my last lap, I locked up into turn one," said Hamilton. "I lost a bit of time, but managed to pull it back.
"At that point, I thought it was over, but I just kept going and it got better and better.
"It's a great effort by the team."
However, the 2008 world champion, who trails Rosberg by 22 points in the drivers' championship, was surprised at the improvement shown by their rivals and predicts a tough race on Sunday as they try to manage the tyres.
"It was quite an exciting qualifying session," he added. "I wasn't expecting to see so much difference in how close everyone was.
"Tomorrow should be interesting. Looking after the tyres is not easy, but I think it will be a good race to watch for the fans."