Valtteri Bottas had been looking a strong contender for pole position in Saturday's qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix.
He was faster than Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in Q1, and only 0.085s off the world champion's pace in the second round. But then it all went wrong in the final top ten pole shoot-out.
"I made a mistake in the first run of Q3, had a snap and ended up spinning out of turn 2," he confirmed after the end of the session.
Onlookers could hardly believe the way that the Finn managed to keep the car from ploughing into the concrete barrier, which could have inflicted major damage on the W10.
"I was lucky that I didn't hit the wall," Bottas agreed. "But it put me on the backfoot for the second run."
Having not set a representative time on his initial run in Q3, the pressure was on to produce the perfect lap on his final push just before the chequered flag.
Unfortunately it didn't go to plan and he ended up qualifying for the race down in sixth place on the grid
"My second lap was pretty messy," he admitted. "I had a number of lockups and didn't do a great job in the corners.
"It's not a lap that I'm very proud of, but mistakes happen.
"I need to learn from today, move on and come back stronger tomorrow," he continued.
"The car was feeling good and our long run pace looked strong on Friday, so I'm confident that there will be some opportunities in the race tomorrow.
"Overtaking is possible on this track and we've seen great racing here in the past, so I'll go flat out and try to get as many points as possible."
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insisted that it was "still all to play for tomorrow" for the Finn despite his scrappiest qualifying performance of 2019 by some margin.
"Valtteri suffered a spin on his first Q3 lap and didn't have the smoothest run on his last attempt," said Wolff.
"Losing your first banker run in Q3 puts you right on the backfoot," added Mercedes' technical director James Allison. "Valtteri's rather lowly grid position is a direct consequence of that."
However Allison pointed out that successfully completing Q2 on medium tyres meant that Bottas had an advantage over the majority of the rest of the cars in the top ten that will be on the shorter-life soft compound.
"He knows that he starts on the right tyre tomorrow with cars ahead of him that don't," Allison noted. "So hopefully he should be well placed for a strong race.
"Just as Friday showed that it was going to be tight in qualifying, let's hope that Friday is also an accurate predictor of the race pace," he added. "It should be a hot, long, interesting and exciting race tomorrow."