Lewis Hamilton refused to make excuses after qualifying third in Singapore, saying polesitter and teammate Nico Rosberg showed the Mercedes' true potential.
Hamilton has had a messy weekend at Marina Bay, with several aborted qualifying simulations through the practice sessions. By contrast Rosberg has looked comfortable throughout the and went a massive 0.7s quicker than Hamilton on the opening lap of Q3 as the two Mercedes drivers provisionally locked out the front row.
Hamilton then ran deep at Turn 1 on his final Q3 attempt and failed to improve, dropping behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in the process. The reigning world champion admitted he just has not been on the top of his game this weekend.
"It wasn't really a frustrating session, it just hasn't been my weekend so far," Hamilton said after Q3. "I haven't been able to get many good laps out there and not been able to string them together and that was the case today. Nico did a great job to show the true potential of the car and hopefully tomorrow I'll try and at least get one step up ahead to get that front row for the team."
When asked if he is now on the back foot in the championship fight, where he leads Rosberg by just two points, he replied: "I've kind of been on the back foot all year long. No real difference for me and I'll do the best job I can from here and it's a very hard track to overtake, but there are lots of safety cars at this race so lots can happen during the race."
Hamilton missed the final part of FP2 on Friday evening and he speculated it might have given Rosberg a better idea of the team's race pace.
"I've not really looked at the long runs and obviously I didn't get to do the long runs yesterday, so I'm not sure if Nico did some running and our cars are set up a little bit different. I don't think our car is in a bad position, but I'll find out tomorrow for the first time."