Fernando Alonso has revealed that his lack of competitiveness in Q3 in Bahrain was due to what he believes to be a power unit problem.

On both runs in the final part of qualifying Alonso was comfortably off the pace, setting the slowest time in Q3 almost two seconds off Nico Rosberg's pole position time. With team-mate Kimi Raikkonen 0.6s quicker, Alonso said he had noticed a problem developing throughout qualifying and rued the timing of the issue.

"Obviously it's sad that a problem with the engine happened in qualifying because we ran quite OK in all the free practices so far this weekend," Alonso said. "Then in qualifying; Q1 was more or less OK, Q2 we lost a little bit and Q3 we lost even more.

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"So it was sad in a way but this is motor racing, we just need to think that we didn't really miss the opportunity of pole position because we were not in that position. So we just missed a couple of places that hopefully tomorrow we can recover from the start. We start on the clean side with [Daniel] Ricciardo's penalty - 9th - so we will try to do a good start, good strategy and attack the race.

"The race is tomorrow. Today didn't work as we planned but we have plenty of time to recover ... we need to do a good race."

Asked if the problem is serious, Alonso replied; "I don't know. When the car returns from parc ferme we will check it."

And Alonso said it was possible that it was another issue that was causing him to lose time, but that it was all lost in terms of straight line speed.

"I only saw the delta time and it was increasing every time I was out on the circuit. Q3 was probably the worst lap because I lost a lot on the straight, so that was not the right moment in the weekend but the reason exactly I don't know. We need to wait for the car to come back from parc ferme; it can even be an aerodynamic issue, the floor or something that was maybe damaged and there was some extra drag from one piece of the car that was not in the right position."