Sebastian Vettel admitted that he was surprised to be on pole position for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix but said that he was delighted to have the pace of his new Red Bull RB6 proven in the first qualifying session of the year.
The 2008 World Championship runner-up just edged Ferrari rivals Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso to pole, by 0.141sec and said afterwards that he was delighted with the performance.
"A big surprise!" said Vettel. "In winter testing no one really knew where he was. It was clear there were four teams were pretty strong, but close to each other.
"To be honest, yesterday was a tough day for us, we had not as much running as we hoped for. Another long night, especially mechanics with not much sleep and a lot of long faces, but they were keen this morning to keep pushing. I knew we had a great car, but obviously first of all we had to get it together.
"Qualifying went pretty smoothly," he added. "I am very, very happy to be on pole, the boys didn't get much sleep in the last month, a lot of testing in a short amount of time and to come here, where everybody shows how strong they are, and come out on top is a nice feeling."
Vettel added that qualifying was not necessarily a marker for race performance and revealed that he remained uncertain who would have the strongest car in the grand prix.
"I think we all don't know what is going to be happen tomorrow yet, it could be very exciting, it could be very boring," he said. "That is what I hope for! We want a calm race, all of us here would like to be where we start, it is a difficult situation to be in.
"The first part of the race will be crucial but there is no secret that you need to take care of tires. All of us don't know what to expect tomorrow."
For more reactions from drivers and teams from qualifying, click here to visit our Formula 1 section.