"I think, in free practice, I just put it together a little bit better but, that that, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the same thing, and I think I overdrove a little bit," the Briton conceded, "That's a lesson learned for me today, not to do that again. I think some of my braking points were a bit poor in qualifying compared to this morning, so if I can sort that out I should be back on good speed tomorrow."
When Bianchi spun to a stop at the chicane in the final sector there was no chance of anyone else improving, putting the rookie at the front of the grid for tomorrow afternoon's opening race.
Slotting in behind the top three will be Vietoris, Oliver Turvey, Pic, Dani Clos and Marcus Ericsson, with no fewer than six rookies in the top eight. Veteran Pastor Maldonado and GP2 Asia Series champion Davide Valsecchi round out the top ten, while other expected frontrunners such as Giacomo Ricci, Giedo van der Garde and Jerome d'Ambrosio languish further down the field.
"In the first laps of the qualifying session, the grip was definitely higher," Valsecchi explained, "Then the track became more and more slippery, and improving my tenth spot has been almost impossible. It hasn't been a great day, but I hope to improve my position on race one. It'll be pretty long and we'll be able to profit from our lap consistency."
van der Garde's afternoon only got worse, however, when he was handed a three-position penalty for race one after being judged to have impeded d'Ambrosio during the qualifying session. Both drivers were called in front of the stewards to discuss the on-track incident before the decision was taken, and van der Garde subsequently moves from 13th on the grid to 16th, pushing his Belgian rival up one spot to 15th.