The seven-time world champion had set the fastest time of Q3 on his intermediate tyre lap but ruined his chances of taking pole with a pitlane crash as the track dramatically dried up in the closing stages.

A rapid weather improvement saw the entire field switch onto slicks but Hamilton lost vital time as Mercedes was forced to change his front wing after he slid into the wall coming into the pitlane. The delay meant Hamilton only had time to complete a single flying lap on the soft rubber.

A spin into the barriers as he struggled to get his tyres up to temperature leaves the Briton only fourth on the grid, behind shock polesitter Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and George Russell.

Asked if his crashes were the result of cold tyres, Hamilton said: “No, just a mistake from myself. Obviously incredibly disappointed in myself.

“Up until then I was really in the zone. I’m really sorry to all the team that are here and the ones back at the factory because that’s not what you expect from a champion. It is what it is. I’ll do my best tomorrow to try and rectify it.

“It was horrible at the end,” he added. “Very poor grip, very slippery when you don’t have any temp.I was losing temp during the lap. Twice in the wall, that’s very rare for me.”

It marks a setback for Hamilton who has been presented with a huge opportunity to reclaim the lead of the world championship from main rival Max Verstappen, who will start Sunday’s race from the back after taking an engine penalty.

And Hamilton acknowledged that his bid to win has just got more difficult following his rare pair of errors.

“Well the guys up front have got good pace,” he said. “It definitely won’t be easy. I’m just going to say my prayers and hope the car can be fixed and it’s OK for tomorrow.

“These things are sent to try us. I feel terrible right now but I’ll turn it into a positive and try and do the best. You’ve got a Brit on pole which is great so congrats to Lando.”