Pedro de la Rosa says he could have been slightly faster in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but believes it was impossible to reach Q3.
The Sauber driver will start the race from 14th position, but claimed a better result could have been possible is he hadn't made mistakes during his final flying lap.
"It was hard. We tried, but on my flying lap I overdrove and made a few mistakes," de la Rosa said. "I wouldn't have made it to Q3, that's clear, but I could have improved my lap time. But we have to try.
"I'm still happy. We knew we would suffer here after yesterday but I'm driving well."
The Spaniard, in his first qualifying session in several years, admitted he felt his usual self after some nerves in the morning.
"I felt good," he said. "This morning I woke up very nervous but then I was the usual Pedro. But I think today there were a few more tenths in the car. Nothing revolutionary because at this track, with these straights, we have a hard time, but I'm pretty satisfied.
"There's a long race tomorrow, the tyres are going to suffer a lot and I'm a driver who takes care of the tyres well, so that's my strength."
De la Rosa said he will be relying on strategy to enjoy a strong race, as he reckons his car is lacking top speed to overtake on track.
"We are lacking top speed. It will be very hard for us to overtake with our top speed. But strategies will be important."