Valtteri Bottas has conceded to being "confused" as to where his pace disappeared to ahead of qualifying for the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.
Bottas topped the second and third practice sessions at the Losail International Circuit and was described by trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin as "the man" after leading the way on Friday.
But it was team-mate Lewis Hamilton who was imperious in qualifying as he was quickest in all three sessions en route to claiming his 102nd pole, with Bottas only third as he was also beaten by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
"It had been a good weekend until qualifying for me," assessed Bottas. "I felt really strong and comfortable in the car but I don't know what happened overnight.
"I could feel in FP3, for sure the wind was a bit different to Friday. I was still fastest but I needed to push a lot so I knew that I really couldn't find much more.
"In quali, I struggled quite a bit, especially in turn one. I struggled to get the tyres ready, unlike yesterday evening. So I need to have a look.
"Obviously, I tried my best but I'm a little bit confused with what happened with the car overnight."
In Brazil, Bottas pulled aside early in the race to allow a charging Hamilton by to hunt down Verstappen and Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez who were running one and two.
Starting directly behind his pole-sitting team-mate on this occasion, Bottas confirmed he is again ready to play the team game.
"I don't really have much to lose personally," added the Finn. "I hope the grip is going to be good on the clean side for me and Lewis and hopefully we go from there."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.