Lewis Hamilton remains hopeful he can contend for victory in the Mexican Grand Prix, after qualifying third behind Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.
Already a three-time world champion, Hamilton is poised to claim a fourth crown and requires only a top-five finish on Sunday to open up an unassailable advantage over Vettel in the standings.
However, having stated his intention to win the title in style, Hamilton is still targeting success from the second row.
Hamilton, who was almost half a second adrift of pole-sitter Vettel on Saturday, told Sky Sports: "I could've been a couple of tenths of a second quicker, but it wouldn't be enough to match these guys.
"We're still in for the win - I hope to have a battle with at least one of them."
The Briton later added: "Pole position was the goal today, but it wasn't meant to be. It was a difficult session and I think it was a difficult weekend overall. It is very slippery here; and some of the issues we have with the car are a little bit highlighted by that.
"I gave it everything I had, but the gap to the front was too big. Our long run pace is definitely better than our qualifying pace, so I'm not worried about that. But you need a big delta [advantage in pace] to overtake here, so track position is important.
"It is a long way down to Turn 1, so we should have some fun. I'm hoping I'm able to move forward at the start. Afterwards it should be a one-stop strategy."
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff added: "We have locked out the second row and, to be honest, I'm reasonably satisfied with that. We knew that it would be difficult for us here, running at a high downforce circuit, so the result is okay with that in mind.
"It feels like we have taken a step forward in these conditions compared to recent races."