Red Bull Racing pairing Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have admitted that they were surprised by Lewis Hamilton's qualifying pace after the McLaren driver took pole by over six tenths of a second.
Vettel and Webber will start second and third despite heading into the weekend as favorites to take top spot on the grid.
"Both of us were surprised by the gap," said Vettel. "Lewis has been strong all weekend and McLaren are strong here – we saw in Q1 and Q2 that they were strong – so let's see the strategies.
"It was maximum I could do – my car is working well here but KERS button, which we have on steering wheel, is not working! The car has good race pace, so I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Webber is hopeful that Red Bull will be able to take the fight to the McLaren driver in tomorrow's race as the team seeks to end the season with a sixth win.
"No doubt McLaren are quick. I am surprised by Lewis's time," he said. "This is a reflection of the second half of the season, but it was a good job by the team and we want to finish on a high.
"Lewis has been strong at a lot of venues, Seb and I pushing as hard as we can, very much a message of how the second part of the championship has gone, I am happy considering how I did the lap."
Webber is also hopeful that the new Yas Marina circuit will allow passing.
"There's a very long straight, but everyone is running similar wing levels on their car," said Webber. "I think it is not going to be Interlagos, but it might be better than Barcelona."