Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a point in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after his worst qualifying performance since the season-opening race in Australia. The defending World Champion could only put his McLaren 14th on the grid at Barcelona -- missing out on a space in Q3 by over four tenths of a second. But afterwards he was philosophical and declared his intention to add to the nine points he currently has in the championship standings.
"At least it's not last," the British driver told BBC
TV. "It's a long race for everyone and a lot can happen during 60-something laps here. If we can get a point, then that would be great."
Hamilton, who does not believe McLaren's updates to the MP4-24 since the Bahrain Grand Prix have made a difference to its overall pace, said that he could not have qualified any higher up the field, despite going seventh quickest in the morning practice session.
"I guess it's a bit of a disappointing qualifying session for us, but we did the best we could," he added. "It [the lap] was actually very close to getting to Q3, although I don't think my tires were in the best shape for the beginning of the lap. We'd hoped to have been a bit higher up, certainly."
Hamilton's Finnish teammate Heikki Kovalainen fared even worse, keeping up his record of not qualified in the top 10 all season. He will start the race 18th – ahead only of the two Force Indias.
Kovalainen said that he had been "blocked a little bit" by one of the BMW Saubers on his final flying lap of Q1, but does not believe the time lost would have made any difference to his inability to progress to the next segment of qualifying.
"It was only in some slow corners, so I didn't lose that much [time]," Kovalainen said. "It was not the deciding factor today. There was just not enough pace. It [the car] is just lacking grip. I didn't have the confidence to push any harder. The balance otherwise is not so bad, but the biggest problem is not to have the grip – we just didn't find that extra bit today."