Sebastian Vettel will start tomorrows Belgian Grand Prix from tenth position following team-mate Mark Webber's five-place grid penalty after a disappointing session at Spa.
The two-time World Champion was dumped out unceremoniously in Q2 after missing the cut-off for the pole-position shootout by one-hundredth of a second.
Vettel himself seemed at a loss to explain his lack of performance.
"I felt pretty good this morning,” he said. “There was nothing obvious that was wrong this afternoon, I was pretty happy with my lap, it was clean, but it just wasn't quick enough. It's a shame to miss Q3 by such a small margin, but that's racing. We've seen in the last races that our car is pretty good in the race so we will see what we can do."
Christian Horner pointed out that his driver 'appeared to struggle quite a lot' in the more twisty second sector, implying that tyre and track temperature may explain away Vettel's lack of pace in comparison to the McLarens, although his performance deficit to his team-mate will be more cause for concern and raised eyebrows on the German's side of the garage.
Cyril Dumont of Renault also blamed the temperature out on-track for Vettel's Q2 exit.
“The cold weather today showed that it's still hard to judge the tyres correctly and we have an unusual grid,” he said. “Seb just missed Q3 by 100th of a second; it's a shame he didn't go through. I don't think we could have challenged for pole today, but we can still get some good points tomorrow."
by Joshua Bonser