Lewis Hamilton says only qualifying fifth for Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix was “my fault” for failing to “pull the laps together” in Q3.

Hamilton, who is regarded as something of a specialist around the Circuit of the Americas having claimed five wins from seven races and the last three pole positions on offer, was uncharacteristically off the pace as he wound up fifth on the grid.

The Briton failed to hook up a competitive lap on either of his Q3 runs and ultimately ended up 0.292s off the pace of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who ended Ferrari’s streak of recent qualifying dominance to claim Mercedes’ first pole position since the German Grand Prix in July.

“It was nothing to do with the car, it was just me,” Hamilton admitted after qualifying.

“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, who has never finished lower than fourth at the Austin track since it joined the calendar in 2012, will wrap up his sixth world title if he scores four points - the equivalent of an eighth-place finish - in Sunday’s race.

But Hamilton insisted he is not entertaining any title thoughts as he looks to digest his qualifying disappointment and fightback in the race.

“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,” he said.

Hamilton recently admitted that qualifying has been one of his weaker areas in 2019, having only managed four pole positions so far this year. Bottas display in Texas has seen him move onto five poles for the season.

 

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