Lewis Hamilton thought the fight for pole "was on" for Mercedes, describing the dramatic Singapore Grand Prix qualifying as "challenging" in the changeable conditions.
The Mercedes driver set the early pace on the Soft tyres, taking provisional pole by nearly half a second from Max Verstappen.
However late improvements from Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez ultimately made him miss out by just 0.054s.
"It was such a challenge," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. "In FP2 the car didn't feel so great so we made some changes overnight obviously, none of us got a real good running in FP3."
"But as soon as I saw that we were kind of fighting for that front row I was thinking 'Oh my god, maybe it's on today!' and how we're just trying to squeeze out everything.
"Thats the closest I've had that hope in terms of getting on the front row this year, so to be off a tenth off there was definitely half a tenth there left on track.
"So disgusted in one sense, but also I'm grateful in another."
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No further action on Appendix L breach
Hamilton was summoned by the stewards prior to qualifying for a breach of Appendix L of the International Sporting Code relating to his nose piercing.
The stewards have ruled that there will be no further action, with Hamilton explaining the reason it has re-appeared was due to an infection and believes it to be a "health" concern.
"It got infected loads of times, but also I was trying to find a solution and I went back to the clinic and that's the best way for it to heal.
"For me it's a health part [referring to whether it's a concern], so that's the way it's gonna say, and we have to deal with it."