Lewis Hamilton accepted responsibility in the wake of the reigning World Champion putting in his worst qualifying result in over a year.
Hamilton, pole sitter at the United States Grand Prix for the last three years, mustered only fifth position in Q3, albeit within three-tenths of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton has not started a race from outside of the front two rows of the grid since last year’s German Grand Prix, when he lined up in 14th spot after a mechanical issue in Q2.
“It was nothing to do with the car, it was just me,” said a contrite Hamilton after the session.
“I just didn’t pull the laps together today.
“Clearly the car had the capability to be on the front row and I just didn’t do it today.
“It was my fault but I will try and rectify it tomorrow.”
Hamilton will become only the second person in history to take six world titles if he is not out-scored by Bottas by 22 points.
On that notion of potentially taking the crown Hamilton said: “Honestly I’m not trying to think about that now.
“I’m just trying to digest what just happened and then I’ll move forwards into tomorrow.”