World Champion Lewis Hamilton credited setup changes made between morning practice and qualifying for taking third on the grid for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Hamilton had struggled for balance during free practice despite setting the sixth fastest time, and had not expected to be capable of qualifying so strongly.
"We didn't expect to be as competitive as we were this afternoon," said Hamilton. "Our car was tricky this morning and we had to make some significant changes between sessions.
"It was impossible to extract the best from the car, especially through the first sector. We didn't have much time to develop a dry setup, so we went into qualifying hoping that the changes would work – and they did."
Hamilton is unsure of whether he will be in the fight for victory tomorrow, with pole position starter Sebastian Vettel clear favorite for Red Bull, but is hopeful that the advantage of KERS will help him make up ground at the start.
"I would love to win here tomorrow, and I'll do everything I can to do so," he said. "Although the Red Bull will be very hard to beat, there's a long run down to Turn One and our KERS is working better than ever.
"Sebastian has more to worry about than I do, too. He'll be looking at the World Championship, I'm just here to have a good time and score some points for my team to help us move further up the Constructors' Championship table."
Teammate Heikki Kovalainen will start ninth after crashing at the first Degner early in Q3.
"I went a bit too fast into Turn Eight, over the kerb, and the car broke out and I couldn't get it back on the track," said Kovalainen. "So it was game over.
"Today's three accidents prove that everybody is pushing the limit as much as possible as the running time in the dry was very limited. The car felt good, the balance was OK and we should be in good shape for tomorrow."