Kevin Magnussen rued heavy traffic during Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying as he was brought back down to earth.
The Danish driver's heroics led to a first pole position at Interlagos eight days prior to qualifying at Yas Marina.
But Magnussen was unable to get past Q1 on this occasion, missing out on taking both Haas cars through to the second session by 0.052secs.
"I got the worst part of the traffic," explained Magnussen.
"We did that really well last week, to get out as the first car and this week we were almost last.
"The car seemed to be a step forward from practice and everyone is so close. So I think there are possibilities tomorrow with good strategy and good tyre management.
"I started the lap with cold tyres so my sector one was not even that much better than my first one."
Magnussen is tackling his first race on the revised circuit layout in Abu Dhabi having been absent last season, with the hope of racing being improved compared to previous events with F1's new cars.
But casting doubt over any improvement, Magnussen assessed: "Everyone is very close so if you are the same pace, you are not going to overtake.
"We have got to offset ourselves and get ourselves ahead on strategy I think."