The seven-time world champion could only manage 13th as he was dumped out in the second part of a dramatic qualifying session held in mixed conditions at Zandvoort.
In contrast, Mercedes teammate George Russell was able to claim third place on the grid.
Hamilton appeared to be impeded multiple times, including by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda at the end of Q2, but he stressed that didn’t explain his poor result.
“Obviously a lot of people in the way but generally I was just slow,” Hamilton said. “We were just slow out there.”
Asked about the incident with Tsunoda, Hamilton said: “It didn’t make any difference. There was a few of the others that got in the way on the previous laps.
“Tsunoda, he was in the way a little bit, but it didn’t lose me time. I was just slow today.”
Hamilton was competitive in the dry during FP1 but was at a loss to explain the reason for his pace struggles in wet conditions on Saturday.
“I really don’t know, honestly,” he said. “The car didn’t feel too great after P2. It felt great in P1 and I’ve just not had that feeling ever since. So I’m not really sure what it is.”
Hamilton conceded he is not feeling confident about staging a recovery in Sunday’s race, saying: “I’m too far from the front runners.”
He added: “The car has just been difficult. I’ll try and turn the negative from today into a positive tomorrow.”