Lewis Hamilton lamented the prospect of a "nice Sunday drive" after qualifying 14th for the Monaco Grand Prix.
After dominating in Spain last time out, Mercedes star Hamilton headed to the principality looking to hunt down Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings, but the Ferrari man looks certain to extend his six-point advantage, despite being beaten to pole by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton struggled for grip throughout Saturday practice and qualifying, failing to put in a quick enough lap in Q2 before his final flying effort was aborted by yellow flags brought out after Stoffel Vandoorne crashed into the barriers at the Swimming Pool chicane.
Penalties to the McLaren car and his team-mate Jenson Button could lift Hamilton up to 12th, but the Briton cut a despondent figure after a miserable outing.
"I'm deflated, but I'll keep pushing tomorrow," Hamilton told Channel Four. "The opportunity wasn't really there for me. I just struggled with the car. I don't really have much to say at the moment.
"I mean that's pretty much the weekend done. Tomorrow I'll just be driving around in whatever position outside of the top 10.
"I'll try and get up as high as I can but it's hard to overtake here, as you know. It's going to be a nice Sunday drive tomorrow I imagine."
Valtteri Bottas put the other Mercedes in P3, but it was scant consolation for Niki Lauda, who was left enraged by Hamilton's "disastrous" run.
"We could not get the setup right on Lewis' car, therefore his disastrous qualifying," Lauda told Sky Sports after the session. "Bottas' car, it was better, very close to second place. With him we are happy, with Lewis not at all. We have to analyse it, I have no idea.
"Now we have to really check carefully what is the differences between the two cars, why the whole setup works on one car and not on the other. For Lewis it is very difficult where he is standing. Vettel is right up front so let's wait and see what will happen tomorrow."