Qualifying took something of a backseat to the Marussia team in Bahrain, as it battled to get to the bottom of a recurring fuel leak problem.

While Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton were out-gunned by their peers at Caterham for the first time in 2013, the team's attention was occupied by two fuel spills involving the Frenchman's car in its pit garage, one at the end of morning practice, the other during the qualifying session.

Although television images suggested that the situation may have been more dramatic than it was, with extinguisher foam covering Bianchi's car, team principal John Booth confirmed that there had been no fire, and that the team was confident that there would be no further repeat on race day.

"We now have a better understanding of the problem we experienced in the garage today with Jules' car," he reported, "This morning, a small amount of fuel was spilt due to an issue with the fuel connector. We examined all the components and made some changes ahead of qualifying, but unfortunately there was a further small fuel spillage this afternoon at the end of the session.

"On both occasions, at no point did the fuel ignite. The car crew were quick to respond with extinguishers as a precautionary measure, entirely in accordance with our procedures, and this served to make the situation appear rather more dramatic than it was.

"Having said that, getting to the root of the issue has been our highest priority, and we are now confident that the measures we have taken will prevent a reoccurrence."

Bianchi will start his fourth grand prix from the inside of row ten, his 20th qualifying result boosted one spot by Esteban Gutierrez's penalty, but the Frenchman admitted to struggling to find a rhythm at the Sakhir circuit.

"After a positive start to the season, I think it has perhaps been a little frustrating for all of us that we have hit upon a circuit that is not so well-suited to our car," he conceded, "This happens - up and down the pit-lane - but we have done a good job to stay focused and do what we can to make the best of it here.

"The balance problems we experienced yesterday were quite pronounced and gave us a tough start, but I think the direction we have taken to resolve them is a good one. Overall, we have faith in our race pace and strategy and we will see tomorrow whether or not this was destined to be our race."

Team-mate Chilton again suffered a lack of running in Saturday morning practice, losing the final 30 minutes to a KERS water pump problem which meant that he did not try the Pirelli PZero Medium tyre ahead of qualifying, and then locked up on his flying lap in Q1. Despite being closer to his team-mate than previously, he will start the race from 21st, with Gutierrez alongside.

"I'm much more comfortable heading into the race than today's timesheet might suggest, to be honest," the Briton insisted, "After a good day yesterday, we had the problem this morning and, although that wasn't the best preparation for qualifying, with the running I did get I could see that the changes we made since yesterday are positive and we have made progress in the right direction.

"Things were going well in qualifying but, unfortunately, I locked up into Turn 11 and, looking at the data, I easily lost three to four tenths there. So, again, it's a question of looking beyond the timesheets and staying focused. We're playing the long game here in Bahrain so, if I can get the right side of [Giedo] van der Garde at the start, I think we can show more of the progress we have made behind the scenes."

"We're optimistic that, as was the case in China last weekend, we will experience a much better Sunday," Booth concluded, "There is no denying that this track has not favoured our car so well but, behind the scenes, we've actually made good progress to overcome the balance issues which have been our main concern. I think we can look forward to strong performances from both [drivers] tomorrow."