Lewis Hamilton refused to blame a final-lap error after he missed out on pole to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the German Grand Prix on Saturday.
Rosberg pipped championship leader Hamilton by 0.107 seconds in a dramatic qualifying segment at Hockenheim to ensure he will start out in front in his home grand prix on Sunday.
An electrical issue restricted Rosberg to just one flying lap late in Q3, but the German was able to go top of the timesheets ahead of Hamilton.
World champion Hamilton, fastest in Q1 and Q2, had time for one final attempt, but had to settle for second on the grid after locking up heading into a hairpin.
The Brit, who leads Rosberg by six points in the championship, said: "It's been a good weekend, I had no problems. I had the pace today I just didn't finish it off in the last lap.
"I didn't really have much of a lock-up. It was subtle; I didn't lose any time."
He added: "I'd been first in every qualifying session so yeah, it [pole] was definitely on. I was two tenths up on the lap and I just didn't finish it. That's it."
Hamilton won in Hungary last weekend after starting behind Rosberg and is looking forward to doing battle with his title rival again in the final race before a four-week break.
"It should be a good day for Mercedes. That's the goal and yeah, we'll race it out."
Hamilton was not penalised following an unsafe release into the pit lane during Saturday's practice session, but Mercedes were fined EUR10,000.
Hamilton joined the pit lane close to Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who was forced to stop in his tracks as the defending champion made his exit.
Grosjean was punished, though, after a gearbox change Haas were forced to make between FP3 and the start of qualifying, the Frenchman handed a five-place penalty to see him start 20th.
Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz will also incur a grid drop after impeding Felipe Massa in turn two, while Niko Hulkenberg could be in trouble for using an invalid set of tyres.