Michael Schumacher has vowed to fight to the bitter end despite the latest cruel blow to his fading world championship dream.
In the final race of his Formula One career today, Schumacher will start the Brazilian Grand Prix from 10th on the grid after a fuel pressure problem with his Ferrari.
Schumacher had earlier looked dominant, in particular when setting the fastest time of the second session at the Interlagos circuit of one minute 10.313 seconds, just over 0.3secs faster than the record pole time set by Rubens Barrichello in 2004.
But on his initial outlap in the final 20-minute session, the 37-year-old's Ferrari started to tour around the 4.3km circuit before eventually labouring back into the garage.
Despite the mechanics working furiously on the car, they were unable to return the seven-times world champion to the track.
That must surely signal the end of Schumacher's hopes of heading into retirement with an eighth world title to his name.
After engine failure in the last race in Japan robbed him of victory, Schumacher has insisted the drivers' title was not on his agenda, with his goal to help Ferrari win the constructors' championship.
With Ferrari trailing Renault by nine points, that is now in doubt, but he said: "I can only try to fight. I'll fight and then we'll see what happens.
"I have no clue as to how the race will develop. It's hard to predict. All I can do is achieve the maximum out of this situation."
This was not what Schumacher had planned, though, as he revealed: "After the technical failure in Suzuka and the one here, I'm not happy. But it's a prototype car and you can never rule out these things. Every so often something has to happen. It's just a shame it's happened to me twice in a row."
Schumacher reiterated: "I've said before I've not been thinking of the drivers' title. I'm looking to fight for the constructors' championship, to get as many points as I can for that.
"Maybe it's still not over. We just have to continue to fight and then see what happens."
Unsurprisingly, reigning world champion Fernando Alonso still refuses to dismiss Schumacher, particularly with the Ferrari the quickest car at present.
Alonso, who requires one point to be crowned champion again and become only the eighth driver in Formula One history to achieve the back-to-back feat, will start from fourth.
"The target was to be in the top five, so I am very happy," said the 25-year-old Renault driver.
"Starting from the second row is perfect for our approach this weekend, and so far everything is going to plan.
"Obviously, the problem Michael had has helped us, not just me, but the team as well in the constructors' championship.
"So things are looking better for us, but we cannot write Michael off. My aim will be to get a good start and fight at the front. We know the car has the pace."
Schumacher's Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa will start on pole for the third time in his last five races, with the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen joining him on the front row.
Jenson Button finished a miserable 14th in his Honda, while David Coulthard will start from 19th for Red Bull Racing.