Lewis Hamilton felt “deflated” after recording his worst Formula 1 qualifying result in Monaco since 2009 by finishing 14th in Saturday’s session.
Hamilton struggled to manage his tire temperature throughout practice in Monaco, which carried over through to qualifying as the Briton abandoned his first Q2 run.
Following a short wait in the pits after being called to the FIA weighbridge, Hamilton ventured out for a second three-lap run in the final few minutes of Q2.
Traffic forced Hamilton to abandon his initial effort before working up a final flying lap that was projected to get him through to Q3, only for yellow flags shown for Stoffel Vandoorne’s crashed McLaren at the exit of Swimming Pool to prevent any improvements.
This all left Hamilton 14th and out in Q2, although he will gain one place on the grid by virtue of Jenson Button’s grid penalty.
“I really struggled with the car today and I just don’t think the opportunity was quite there for me,” Hamilton said.
“It was a little bit unfortunate with the yellow flag, but it doesn’t really matter now if I could have gone faster.
“I think that lap may have just got me into the top 10 but I would have struggled to make it into the top five with the pace that I had.”
Hamilton admitted he was perplexed by his struggles compared to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who qualified third and was just 0.045 seconds shy of pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen’s time.
“Valtteri didn’t have any struggles today so I’m a bit confused and I can’t pinpoint the problem at the moment. I’m feeling pretty deflated right now but I’ll try again tomorrow,” Hamilton said.
“It’s great that Valtteri extracted a good lap. We just need to identify why I wasn’t able to be up there too. Onwards and upwards.”
The Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBC from 7:30am ET on Sunday, with F1 Countdown starting on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET.