Valtteri Bottas felt traffic on his final qualifying lap denied him a final shot at pole position for the Australian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver will start in second behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton at Albert Park for the season opener.
“I really enjoyed driving today, I was in a good flow and usually when you enjoy driving it shows on the time sheets as well.
“My first lap in Q3 was pretty good and I wanted to improve in my second lap, but I was stuck in traffic on my out lap, so my tyres were just a bit too cold at the start of the lap.
“Lewis did put in a fantastic lap, but I think without the traffic it would have been a close fight for pole today.”
Mercedes were worried about the pace of Scuderia Ferrari ahead of the weekend but Bottas has warned not to underestimate them in the race.
“We didn’t expect to be this strong – we’re happy, but frankly quite surprised to see that gap.
“We came here, not knowing where we’d be and actually thought we’d be a bit behind Ferrari.
“But we shouldn’t underestimate them; they looked very strong in winter testing and have a quick car, even if they struggled today.
“At the same time our team has done a really good job between Barcelona and here, constantly improving the car.”
Bottas had a winless 2018 but hopes the be able to fight Hamilton in the race and try and start 2019 in the best possible way.
“Today was good fun, we both got some nice laps in, so let’s hope we will have a good Sunday as well.
“It’s a decent run into Turn 1, so hopefully I can get a good start, build a gap to the cars behind and have a good fight with Lewis.”