Lewis Hamilton does not think he could have beaten Sebastian Vettel to Italian Grand Prix pole even if his final qualifying lap at Monza had been perfect.
Vettel claimed his 10th pole position of the year with a half-second cushion despite Monza having been a weak track for Red Bull in recent years. Although Hamilton made some errors on his final pole shot, he described Vettel's time as "untouchable."
"I didn't have another half a second in the bag," said Hamilton. "We had a couple of tenths up on the car. The guys did a fantastic job to bring new components to the circuit, and we were very competitive.
"Seb was quicker today. We looked like we would be quite competitive through the weekend but today on the last lap he was untouchable."
Hamilton had been fastest in Q1 and both McLarens had been within a couple of tenths of Vettel in Q2, so the Briton admitted he was surprised by how much performance the championship leader was able to unleash in the final segment.
"In Q1 and Q2 it was relatively close – and they pull out half a second [in Q3]," said Hamilton.
Despite his disappointment at Vettel's qualifying superiority, Hamilton added that he was pleased to at least be in contention at the front of the field as he tries to make up for his Spa crash, and that he was confident in McLaren's race pace.
"It is a long race tomorrow. The target is to finish. In the race I think we will be able to finish up quite high," he said. "I am pretty happy to be back up there getting another opportunity to have another good race tomorrow and hopefully things turn out better than the last race."