Carlos Sainz was frustrated to not compete for Pole Position after qualifying several tenths off the pace in fifth place.
The Ferrari driver had threatened to challenge Red Bull and Mercedes for Pole by setting similar times in Q2.
However, Ferrari were unable to match the intensifying pace and fell adrift of Max Verstappen's target time.
Speaking after qualifying, Sainz believed the pace deficit was specific to the characteristics of the Hermanos Rodríguez Circuit.
"There was probably a bit more [time to gain] out there, but the car has been difficult to drive," Sainz told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"Normally when it's difficult [to drive], it's difficult to put laps together like we did in Austin.
"Today, there's probably a couple of tenths [more] in the bag, but for how difficult it was, I think I was extracting quite a lot from it out there.
"We just need to have a look, I think we've lost quite a bit of performance in high altitude, we need to see because I think it's just a one off. I think it's a track that hasn't suited us very well."
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Sainz points to power unit altitude concerns
Sainz's Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc suffered a similarly below-par qualifying session, with the Monegasque ending the session in seventh place, behind Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas.
After describing power-related shortcomings on the Ferrari, Leclerc had been quizzed on the high-altitude nature of the track.
Leclerc was unwilling to blame the high altitude, however, when the same question was put to Sainz, he attributed the deficits to tyre issues and altitude.
"It's a good question. With altitude, it shouldn't affect us in terms of cornering speed. So, my guess is maybe something is going on with the tyres?
"I think the altitude for this engine it's not going exactly how we wanted. We knew before coming here that we were going to need to take some compromises. Then the tyres on the car, over kerbs and some bumps, was just difficult."
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