Lewis Hamilton has conceded to suffering engine problems on his final Q3 run despite equalling his season-best qualifying result.
The seven-time champion will start third at the Mexico City Grand Prix but had threatened in the early stages to score a maiden pole position for the year.
But Hamilton's initial effort in Q3 was stricken off the timesheets for a track limits violation, meaning he could not attack his final attempt at full-tilt.
Drivability issues further hampered his progress, eventually finishing behind Max Verstappen and team-mate George Russell.
“It was generally a really good qualifying session," reflected Hamilton. "No real major issues.
"I mean, we had some problems with the engine towards the end in Q3 so I think there was definitely a bit of performance left on the table with that, unfortunately, but I did the best that I could.
“I think losing that first lap definitely made the last one very difficult. I had to be very reserved on that last lap just to make sure it was clean because I was 10th up until that point.
“So, unfortunately, I was not able to push as hard as I would have liked. But nonetheless, I think this is a great result to be second and third. It’s not a bad position to start and I hope we can fix the engine problem for tomorrow.”
Hamilton finds positive from Mexico omens
The omens are positive for Hamilton, with the driver that lined up third on the grid on the last two visits to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez emerging victorious in the race.
On his race day prospects, Hamilton said: "Naturally, it is always a tough race around here with the track temperatures and the tyres. But these guys [Red Bull] have been rapid all year long," added Hamilton.
“Even when we’re at our best this weekend, I still feel we’re losing out to them on straight line speed, so it will be difficult to get by them but we’ll give it our best shot and turn one is an opportunity, so we’ll go for it.”