Lewis Hamilton blamed a problem with his Mercedes for his spin in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying.
The incident on his last Q3 lap left Hamilton behind team-mate Nico Rosberg in fourth on the grid. The Briton had expected to be a pole contender after running Red Bull close through practice and topping Q1.
“Something gave way on the right-hand side of the car,” said Hamilton. “I was going through the chicane and it snapped out.
“I tried to pull away and it wouldn’t move, so something’s busted.”
He admitted he was concerned that being back in fourth on the grid would hurt his victory chances.
“This is a very difficult circuit to overtake on so being at the front means everything,” said Hamilton. “Hopefully we can get a good start and maybe still challenge for podium positions. I’m just grateful I didn’t drop too far down.”
Teammate Rosberg doubts Mercedes can challenge the front-row-starting Red Bulls in Sunday’s race, so is focusing on the team’s battle with Ferrari and Lotus for second in the constructors’ championship.
“We’re ‘best of the rest,’ which is the target this weekend, and we get close to Red Bull from time to time,” said Rosberg. “The constructors’ is what counts for us, and locking out second row on the grid when Lotus is coming back [on form] and Ferrari are well back is good for us.”