Despite Mercedes locking out the front row for tomorrow's China Grand Prix, Hamilton has claimed the Silver Arrows' car "hasn't improved" through qualifying, and insisted he was experimenting to try and get more out of the car himself.
"I was struggling with the car throughout yesterday and today going into Q2, but I made a couple of changes with some settings on the wheel and changes to the lines, to bridge the gap," Hamilton said to reporters following the dramatic Q3 session.
"Honestly, I'm quite proud of the job I've done considering how far I was earlier on in the session. Valtteri's been quick all weekend. He deserves the pole."
Asked by Motorsport.com to give more detail on the changes he made, the five-time world champion replied: "Valtteri was particularly quick in the first sector, so I was experimenting throughout the session.
"I think I had the quickest sector in the end, but it was a little bit too late. But still, it's all about making improvements. It wasn't to do with tyre temperature it was just to do with balance and getting the flow, utilising the grip in the right areas.
"As I said I've been struggling with the car, just battling the thing. It's obviously a great car but the first few races are always quite tricky. It shifts later on in the season and you get a better understanding."