Michael Schumacher was left frustrated when team strategy was thwarted in Q2 by a problem with tyre balance that saw him miss the cut and head to the grid on Sunday in 12th place.
Schumacher lost out on joining his Mercedes GP team mate Nico Rosberg in the final round of qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Korea after suffering a vibration problem during his flying lap attempt.
"Unfortunately I could feel that something was not right when leaving the pits as I had vibrations straight away," said the former multiple world champion. "All that was left for us to do was hope that the gap would be big enough to remain in the top ten but that turned out not to be the case."
Schumacher was bumped out of the top ten by Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari, and was eventually pushed down another place before the chequered flag fell, by which time Schumacher was already back in the pits and dressing back into civilian clothes.
"It was obviously a pity what happened," he said, before looking on the bright side: "I have saved two fresh sets of option tyres which is always helpful.
"Michael's pace on the prime in Q1 was very good, then as he went out on the options in Q2, he complained of a vibration," added team boss Ross Brawn. "We debated whether to change tyres, but decided to stay out and try for the lap time. In the end, the pace did not reflect what the car was capable of, and there wasn't enough time to complete another run. Even so, Michael was just one tenth away from Q3, and he will have opportunities tomorrow."
Meanwhile, Rosberg finished in seventh place and declared himself "quite pleased with today," although admitting that it would be tough to do anything about the McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari pairings ahead of him.
"It will be an interesting race from the tyre perspective with a lot of stops," said Rosberg. "To find the right set-up for the qualifying and the race is always a compromise, particularly after such limited dry running, so I'm happy that we saved one set of option tyres."
"We took a balanced approach to tyre usage with Nico making a single run in each session, and he goes into the race with one new set of options and two new sets of primes," Brawn expanded. "The uncertainty over tyre performance after yesterday's wet running meant we wanted to keep as many new sets back as we could, although the performance is now looking more consistent than had been anticipated."