Kimi Raikkonen labelled the lap that secured him third place on the Brazilian Grand Prix grip as "average".
The Finn completed a last-minute flyer to move up to third behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ahead of tomorrow's penultimate race of the season.
The Ferrari driver admitted he had struggled with tyre warm-up during the session, and said his final flying lap was far from perfect.
"I struggled all qualifying in a few places and a few corners," said Raikkonen. "To be honest, the last lap was pretty average in my view, but enough to be third.
"I struggled in first two corners with tyre warm-up, middle bit not too happy - but it was good. We'll see what we can do."
Raikkonen was still very far from the Mercedes up, finishing over six tenths off pole position time, and he conceded the German cars appear to be out of reach.
"Mercedes seems to be a bit too far," he said. "Hopefully we can have a good strong race tomorrow."
The result meant the Finnish driver outqualified teammate Sebastian Vettel, bringing the head-to-head score to 10-10 this year.
"It has been very close," said Raikkonen of his battle with Vettel. "I think most of the year has been very close and some races been a bit behind or in front, but we have done a very good job as a team and improved certain areas.
"We learned some positive things, and as a team we worked well, and it is helping us get back to where we were at start of the year."