He recovered to finish fifth, but after costly collisions in Baku, Singapore and Mexico a year ago, as well as running off the road at April's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the German's latest faux pas was his fifth high-profile mistake in only 12 months.
"After Saturdays, I'm always here answering negative questions", Alonso, whose future at McLaren remains uncertain, told Sky Sports.
Ferrari's championship leader Sebastian Vettel, a point ahead of the Briton after seven of 21 races, qualified in third place.
The usual top-six of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull drivers stood atop the field in Q1, though some surprises snuck through with both Saubers advancing to Q2 for the first time this season.
"That wasn't too bad", said Hamilton.
"I knew with an wonderful lap I stood a chance but it didn't arrive".
On an initially dry track following heavy rainstorms, which had curtailed final free practice, the air temperature was 22 degrees Celsius and the track 30 when qualifying began.
"It's a difficult one to get the right balance, I tried hard to give everything in the last attempt, and looking back, I pushed too hard", Vettel said after the session.
It did nothing to slow him and as soon as Bottas had gone fastest, Hamilton cut his time by half a second with a scorching lap.
Asked if Vettel had apologised after the race, Bottas added: "Yes, he apologised but I don't know what to say".
The incident-packed opening lap also saw Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon retire from their home race after Gasly lost the rear of his Toro Rosso and slid into the back of Ocon's Force India.
There was also drama on track, with Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson crashing his Sauber in the first session and clambering out with the auto on fire.
Hamilton had topped the times in both of Friday's practice sessions, and then Bottas had been quickest in Saturday's final practice, which was hit by a rain storm. The pit stop dropped Bottas to last place and the resulting damage to the floor of his auto hindered his progression back through the field.