Lewis Hamilton admitted that qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix was one of the 'worst qualifying sessions he could remember' after the outgoing F1 champion had to settle for 18th on the grid at Interlagos.
In heavy rain, both Hamilton and McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen struggled to deal with the conditions during the session, with the team having gone with a dry set-up on both cars as it gambled on better conditions on race day.
With both drivers also struggling with a lack of grip, neither made it past Q1, with Hamilton suffering a spin across the grass at turn five after aquaplaning off while chasing a place in the second phase of qualifying.
As a result, the Briton will start down in 18th place and he admitted that he was on the back foot heading into race day.
“Today was one of the worst qualifying sessions I can remember,” he said. “Our car didn't feel good at all: for both Heikki and me, we couldn't even go flat-out along the straights – that's how little grip we had.
“It was a disappointing performance, but we did the best we could – I even had a small 'off' trying to push at the end and the car just let loose on me. We were running with a dry set-up, so it's a lot stiffer than you'd probably want in the wet – and our shortfall in downforce, compared to some of the other cars, really shows in these conditions.
“I'm hoping the sun comes out for tomorrow so we'll have a fighting chance of getting into the points, but starting 18th means your weekend is really on the back foot.”
Team-mate Kovalainen starts just one place higher on the grid, with the Finn admitting that he was hopeful that the weather would be more suited to the team.
“These were some of the worst conditions I've ever experienced in a race weekend,” he said. “I like driving in wet conditions, but today there was so much aquaplaning that it was extremely difficult to keep the car on the track. Plus, there was very bad visibility when you were travelling in the spray of another car.
“This result shows that we still lack some downforce, so there was nothing we could do to go any faster. I hope the set-up will better suit us in different conditions tomorrow.”