The seven-time world champion blew his chances of taking pole position at Sochi when he slid into the wall as he entered the pit lane to switch from intermediate tyres onto slicks with the track drying out in the final five minutes of Q3.

Hamilton was delayed in the pits as his mechanics had to replace his damaged front wing and service Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas first before sending both drivers back out.

Having lost temperature in his tyres, Hamilton struggled for grip and spun off for his second hit with the barriers on his one and only flying lap on softs, leaving him only fourth on the grid.

“It’s really nothing to do with pressure, honestly,” Hamilton said. “It really wasn't a pressure scenario. It's literally just mistakes do happen.

“I came into the pits, I knew that I didn’t have a huge amount of time and I was attacking. I was just trying to get through the pit lane as fast as possible because I knew that I would need as much time as possible.

“In the previous times coming in the pit lane, you could take it really quite slowly, I thought the track was drying and the grip was quite good, and came in and just took it a little bit quicker than normal and just lost the back end and slid into the wall.

“So, yes, of course, [it’s] embarrassing, [I’m] disappointed in myself that I'd had it, but shit happens. We all make mistakes, and of course it's not what you would expect a world champion to do.

“The problem when you have the success that I have, anything but perfection feels like a long way off. But I'm only human.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also dismissed the suggestion that Hamilton’s error was borne out of pressure to capitalise on his main championship rival Max Verstappen starting from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Verstappen heads into Sunday’s Russian GP - a race Mercedes has won at every year since 2014 - holding a five-point advantage over Hamilton in the championship.

"I think it wasn't the pressure today, because it was clear that Max was starting from the back," Wolff said.

"Why that happened, I can't say. I don't think it's the pressure of the championship. And he wasn't the only one who that happened [to].”

Hamilton, who conceded he was “incredibly disappointed in myself” in TV interviews directly after qualifying, revealed his father Anthony had called him to offer support.

"My dad called me afterwards, and we just talked about it, and you just move on,” he said. “Tomorrow, I get my racing head back on and back focused, and hopefully bring you a good race.”