Lewis Hamilton told reporters in Japan that it was his fault that he had missed out on the chance to start a final flying lap at the end of qualifying in Suzuka.
After being overtaken by Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher on his warm-up lap, Hamilton arrived at the start line too late to commence his fast lap as the chequered flag was already out. As a result, he was sidelined while Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button both leapt ahead of him in the timings.
"It was my mistake," he told reporters after the qualifying session ended. "I should have got out sooner but I was making a wing change and I went out too late."
Hamilton had been backing off trying to give himself room to work with behind the next car up the track, his McLaren team mate Jenson Button, when suddenly he found Webber and Schumacher bearing down on him desperate to pass.
"Jenson was in front of me. He slowed down to get his gap and I was coming up to the last corner, trying to make sure that I had a gap between me and him. It wasn't that big.
"Just as I was coming into the chicane I looked in my mirror and I saw Mark diving up the inside of me," he continued. "Then I had Michael down the outside. It was very, very strange and that's really where we lost the lap.
"I was entering the last corner and Mark came out of nowhere and nearly crashed with me so I had to avoid him," Hamilton told the TV reporters in pit lane. "Michael was on the outside and went across the grass so that was an interesting moment. I couldn't get a lap after that," he added, describing it all as "a bit dangerous."
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh had earlier said that the team bore some responsibility for the missed opportunity. "With the benefit of hindsight, we perhaps didn't make it clear enough to Lewis about what he needed to achieve on his out-lap," Whitmarsh said afterwards. ""It was very tight and people were trying to make gaps. It was a difficult situation."
But Hamilton disagreed, and insisted that the pit wall had been keeping him completely in the loop throughout. "The team were telling me when I need to get a lap but it was not the team's decision, so it was my fault," he said.