Kimi Raikkonen said his Italian Grand Prix qualifying disappointment was a simple matter of Lotus being too slow in low-downforce trim.
The team failed to get a car into Q3 for the first time this year as Raikkonen and teammate Romain Grosjean ended up only 11th and 13th.
"This is our speed," said Raikkonen. "I was expecting to have a difficult weekend because it was last year.
"It seems to be when you have to take a lot of wing out and run in this configuration, it's not very good for us. We were close to getting into Q3 but I think the end result would've been very similar.
"We cannot run lower wings without suffering. The balance was not bad but we just did not have the grip. I think we are usually better in race conditions. But the others won't have suddenly slowed down."
The Monza qualifying result follows Raikkonen's first retirement of the year at Spa two weeks ago. That dropped him to fourth in the standings, 63 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel. Raikkonen admitted that with Vettel on pole, his own title hopes were now fading.
"It looks like it. He's far away again. We have not exactly been the fastest lately," said Raikkonen.