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
"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.
"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, Iâ€™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.