Lewis Hamilton said he was sure that he would have been able to join Mercedes team mate George Russell on the front row of the grid for tomorrow's Hungarian Grand Prix, if not for an issue with his rear wing.
"I tried to open the DRS and it wouldn’t open, so a bit unfortunate,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 after the end of qualifying.
It was especially frustrating for Hamilton after the team had worked through the night to address the problems that had made Friday's practice sessions one of their worst of the season to date.
Hamilton was just 11th fastest at the end of FP2, so to rebound from that to set the fastest time in the first round of qualifying with Russell second quickest on Saturday afternoon was quite the surprise turnaround.
But when it came to the climax of the session, Hamilton found himself unable to use his DRS on his final hot lap and was forced to pit - just as Russell flew to a surprise pole over Ferrari pair Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.
"My DRS stopped working, which was frustrating after all the struggle we had to finally have the chance to fight for front row but then not being able to, because of the issues with the DRS.
"We did a lot of work overnight at track and back at the factory. The car didn't feel good in FP3, but was strong in qualifying. We didn't know how strong our pace was and where it came from so it's a very positive day for us."
It's the team's first pole of the season, which had been blighted by a series of performance issues on the W13 including a long battle to overcome the phenomenon of 'porpoising'.
“Congratulations to George, he did an amazing job," he said. "It's an amazing feeling to get your first pole position.
"It’s a great result for the team given all that we’ve gone through," Hamilton pointed out. "It’s huge. So I'm really happy for everyone, we definitely didn’t expect that.
“I was feeling great," he added. "I was for sure. Front row was definitely there. [It] would have been awesome to have got a front row for the team, but these things happen."
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff came on the team radio to apologise to Hamilton for the problem with the rear wing: "“Sorry for the f***-up with the DRS,” he said.
But Wolff also accentuated the positive by telling his driver: “You have both Verstappen and Perez behind you. It’s just Norris, Ocon and Alonso [ahead] which you should get, so we can recover.”
After the end of the session, he added: "For Lewis, it was so tough. His DRS failed just at the crucial moment, otherwise he would have been fighting up there with George for pole position, no doubt."
Like Hamilton, Wolff himself was startled by the team's sudden resurgence in form given such an unpromising time on Friday.
"We haven't been in the hunt for a win this season and we know how strong our competitors are so being on pole is a solid result for us.
“We just need to write down everything we did this morning, including the food and the drinks we had, in order to be able to replicate!" he told Sky Sports F1.
"If we have the right pace in the race tomorrow, I wouldn't rule out that we can be part of the front again," he said. "We could win this!"
Hamilton was also hoping that this might indeed prove possible, after the pair finished on the podium last week in France.
“I’ll do what I can tomorrow to support George,” he said. “He should be able to win from that position, at this track, and I’ll try and work my way up.
"I will do what I can tomorrow to support and contribute to us in winning from P7," he continued. "I don't know where our race pace is going to be tomorrow, but hopefully we will be in a position to attack."