Marussia continued to be the best of the backmarkers, with Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton out-performing Caterham duo Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde in qualifying for the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

"I am happy with where we ended up on the grid for tomorrow's race, but I am a little disappointed with my lap to be honest," said Bianchi, who finished the session with a provisional 19th place on the grid which was subsequently bumped up by one spot thanks to the fuel penalty handed out to Red Bull's Mark Webber later in the day.

"I made a small mistake which cost me lap time and there was certainly more to come," the Frenchman said. "I think we have struggled a little more today perhaps, but I have confidence in our race pace and so I am looking forward to tomorrow's race," adding that the start would be key to how his fortunes would turn out in China.

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"There was certainly more time to come from Jules' lap, but the balance wasn't quite there on his second run," agreed team principal John Booth.

Even so, Bianchi's time was almost a full second faster than his fellow rookie team mate - which Booth was quick to point out wasn't the Englishman's fault. "With Max, I?EUR(TM)m disappointed to say that we experienced another issue, which unfortunately prevented him from starting his second qualifying run.," he explained.

Despite that problem - just the latest in a series this weekend in Shanghai, which included Chilton knocking over one of the Marussia pit crew during FP3 earlier on Saturday (see separate story) - Chilton was still able to edge out the best of the Caterhams by a little under a tenth of a second.

"It would be easy to focus on the negatives from today, but given the challenges we've faced on my side of the garage so far this weekend I'm more encouraged by what we have achieved when you consider how little running we've had," he said. The target was to stay the right side of the Caterhams, which I did, despite only having the one run of three laps.

"Fingers crossed we'll get a clear run at the race, which I'm looking forward to," he said.

He'll start alongside Charles Pic, who was the best of the Caterham drivers in qualifying by just under four hundredths of a second, but who admitted that not all was well in the camp.

"We've had quite a few issues all weekend and they've hurt our ability to get the most out of the car here, particularly with the tyres," he said. " We tried a couple of different set-up options in FP3 and the car balance felt better this morning than it had yesterday but between FP3 and qualifying the tyre behaviour changed again and we really couldn't get them to work.

"In qualifying we did both runs on the soft tyres but I had traffic on my first run which meant I didn't have a clean lap," he added. "On the second run I improved my time but I still had oversteer on the exits of most of the corners and more traffic in both sectors one and two which basically ruined that lap."

Things were scarcely any better for van der Garde, who will now start on the back row alongside special guest star Webber.

"After two productive sessions yesterday I just couldn't get the same feeling from the car in FP3 and that carried over into qualifying," admitted the Dutch driver. "Like Charles, I've had quite a few small problems in each session and together they've held us back quite a bit.

"We're struggling to understand the tyre behaviour here and when the track temps went up today it was like having to start again with our understanding of how to get them working," he explained. "My final position in qualie is obviously disappointing, particularly as I made a mistake in turn two on my second run, pushing too hard into the corner and that cost me about four tenths.

"But now we have to focus on tomorrow's race," he added, "and aim for the same sort of performance we put in at the last race in Malaysia," which saw him finish in 15th place after starting from 22nd, getting the better of Chilton over the course of 56 laps at Sepang.

Caterham might not be making it easy for themselves, but maybe they can yet salvage something from Shanghai with a similar performance tomorrow in the Chinese GP.