“It’s just very loose, the car’s unpredictable at every corner,” he said. “In one corner it’s one way, at another corner it’s another, it’s not a consistent car and the whole balance, no setup change I can make seems to get it right.
“It’s a struggle just to get out of Q1.”
Two Q2 exits in a row – with Hamilton also qualifying 11th in Las Vegas last weekend – signify a troublesome period for the once-dominant force in Formula 1.
That factor was not lost on Hamilton, who has 104 career pole positions, but has only scored one – in Hungary earlier this year – since the sport’s latest rules overhaul.
“Yeah these last two races have been a disaster for me,” he added. “Particularly in qualifying I’ve had two 11th places, you know, it’s very rare.”
Having missed out on FP1 with Formula 2 title hopeful Frederik Vesti assuming driving duties, Hamilton had hoped to get significant mileage under his belt in FP2.
However, two red flags heavily impacted driving time, with Hamilton exclaiming he only managed “four timed laps”, leaving him aware making Q3 would be a challenge.
Despite mitigating factors, Hamilton admitted to Sky F1 that he’s “been off all weekend,” and that the disparity between his car and team-mate George Russell was confusing.
“I don’t have any answers,” he told the broadcaster. “Honestly, at this point, it is what it is.
“We set our cars up the same but they don’t read the same, so there’s something not right on our side.”
Hamilton’s starting berth will hurt Mercedes’ chances in the fight for second in the Constructors’ Championship.
The Brackley-based outfit currently lead Ferrari by four points, but with Charles Leclerc qualifying second the Scuderia have a chance to steal the position at the final round.
But having made the most overtakes last weekend in Vegas and with Carlos Sainz out in Q1, Hamilton and Mercedes still have plenty to play for come lights out on Sunday.