McLaren's Kevin Magnussen has revealed he was slowed by a FIA fuel flow meter problem during qualifying for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.

Magnussen made it into the top-ten shootout with relative ease, but complained that his car was "completely different" for Q3 and in the end his best lap was six tenths slower than what he had managed in Q2.

It meant instead of qualifying around P4, he was sixth and with a five-place grid penalty - picked up after a gearbox failure in final practice this morning - he will start Sunday's race down in eleventh.

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"We had a problem with the FIA fuel flow meter," he confirmed later on. "I had to turn the power down on the engine. The problem started in Q2.

"I was a little bit down in Q2 but not a lot. However, in Q3 it was quite a lot, which explains some of the pace loss."

Speaking earlier on he added: "I am not very happy with my qualifying session. It has been a really bad day today. I didn't get anything out of FP3. Q2 was looking really good but it was completely different in Q3 - a completely different car. I just wasn't able to get anywhere near it. I was six tenths slower in Q3 than in Q2. We need to understand what happened."

"I think it is looking alright in terms of our pace this weekend though," he continued. "It looks like we are a bit closer for some reason this time. We have a bit more pace than normal. Hopefully in the race we can make up for the penalty and the problem in qualifying.

"It won't be easy, because we'll be starting quite far back, but at least overtaking is possible here: moreover, there's a good DRS zone, and quite a long straight down to Turn Two.

"Our long-run pace hasn't been too bad either, so all in all I am fairly positive we will be able to make up some positions in the race."