I just wasn't fast enough - Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton's run-in with the police on Friday played a part in his qualifying only 11th for the Australian Grand Prix, his team boss said.
The Englishman was spoken to by police about alleged improper use of a vehicle after spinning his wheels when leaving the track after practice on Friday.
Hamilton played down the issue but boss Martin Whitmarsh said: "He was a bit distracted after what happened.
"Sometimes you have a good day, sometimes a less good day."
Hamilton issued a formal apology over the incident, which Whitmarsh said had "been blown out of proportion" because of him being such a high-profile individual.
"He spun his wheels away from a road junction - he shouldn't have done it, he knows that, but he takes these things to heart," he said.
"It certainly played on his mind last night but because he is Lewis Hamilton it gets a lot of attention."
Hamilton, 25, insisted his performance or lack of it was down to other factors.
"I feel I got everything out of the car, I didn't have any more grip from the tyres," he said.
Speaking about the police incident, he described it as "something you learn from - it's not really affected (today).
"I don't know if I got the right heat into the tyres - at least Jenson (Button)'s doing a good job."
Button 'getting all he can' out of McLaren
Hamilton's team-mate and reigning world champion Button qualified in fourth place, behind the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, and said he was happy with the way he was adapting to his new car.
"I'm happy with my performance over the weekend - I'm more comfortable than I was in Bahrain, there are still a few things I'm finding a bit different but we're working on that, and the team are working very quickly.
"I couldn't have been further up the grid with what I had, I pretty much got the best out of the package we've got at the moment."