Lewis Hamilton said he was concerned he had lost pole position following his spin in the final seconds of Austrian Grand Prix qualifying.
The world champion ended up
after his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg also spun on his last lap.
“Afterwards, I thought ‘I probably lost it there’,” said the Briton.
Hamilton, who took his seventh pole in eight races this year, said he believed Mercedes would face a close fight with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the race.
and the Ferrari was actually quicker than the Mercedes when the two teams did race-simulation runs on heavy fuel loads in Friday practice.
“Ferrari are close,” added Hamilton. “They have good race pace and naturally Nico is going to be a threat, as always.”
Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria’s Styrian mountains
and Hamilton has a
The German was level with Hamilton’s pole time when he made his own mistake, running off the track at the final corner.
“It was very close in terms of beating Lewis so I knew I needed to keep pushing and I just exaggerated it,” said Rosberg.
“It’s frustrating because it was possible. I was equal to Lewis and it just went wrong – I was on the cusp before the last two corners.”
There is an uncertain weather forecast for the race, with the possibility of rain, which also affected the first part of qualifying.
The track, which is short and low on grip, is owned by former world champions Red Bull but they have had a difficult weekend so far.
criticised their engine supplier, Renault, in an outspoken interview on a website owned by Red Bull and has reiterated his threat to pull out of F1 if the team cannot get a competitive power-unit.
Both Red Bull cars will start the race from the tail of the field after being hit with 10-place grid penalties for changing parts on their engines.
Russian Daniil Kvyat qualified eighth but will start from 15th, following the imposition of his penalty and others for his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and both McLaren drivers.
Ricciardo qualified 14th and will line up 18th, but will have to serve a five-second penalty at his first pit stop.
McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, who qualified 15th and 17th, both have 25-place grid penalties as a result of various punishments.
Alonso will line up 19th and Button 20th. But the Spaniard will be forced to take a drive-through penalty in the first few laps of the race, while Button has a 10-second stop-and-go punishment.