Austin, November 3: Lewis Hamilton was in no mood to talk about a potential title party at the United States Grand Prix as he reflected on a disappointing qualifying performance for which he took responsibility.
Hamilton needs to only finish eighth in Austin to claim a third straight drivers' championship and a sixth in all, while he will seal the title regardless of his finish if team-mate Valtteri Bottas fails to win the race.
However, with Bottas on pole after Saturday's Q3, Hamilton was frustrated he did not match his Mercedes colleague, running fifth fastest.
Given the Finn's impressive display, Hamilton acknowledged he had no excuse for finding himself on the third row of the grid.
"It's nothing to do with the car," he said. "I just didn't put the laps together today. The car had the capability to be on the front row and it was my fault."
Although fifth would still be enough for Hamilton to end Bottas' title hopes, his focus was on improving on his underwhelming efforts.
"Honestly, I'm not trying to think about (the title) right now," he said. "I'm just trying to digest what happened and think about tomorrow (Sunday)."
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was still confident Hamilton will be able to compete for the race win, though.
"It was so tight, you could see the were a few cars between the same tenths," Wolff said. "I'm very happy (with Bottas' result) – it's good to be on pole again.
"It's a shame for Lewis – we need to see what we can do tomorrow on strategy.
"With an aggressive strategy, you can still compete for the win. It wasn't his qualifying strategy so we will have to look into that."