Felipe Massa blamed traffic in Q2 for his disappointing 17th place on the Spanish Grand Prix grid.
While the Brazilian's Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso fought for pole and qualified third in the upgraded car, Massa brought up the rear of the Q2 field, but said the result did not reflect his pace at all.
"I had traffic. I was on my lap and there were many cars going slow on their out-laps," he said. "I had to completely change the braking positions, so I lost four tenths or half a second for sure because of this. It's a shame. Looking at how competitive qualifying was, it's a lot of positions."
Asked if he was certain he would be fully competitive in the race, Massa replied: "I definitely expect a much stronger race tomorrow."
Although Ferrari introduced several new parts for Barcelona, Massa hinted that Alonso might have gone beyond the car's natural potential to get as high as third.
"I think our step was like we expected, to be honest. It was not more than we expected, it was like we expected. Fernando did a great job, definitely, in qualifying," said Massa. "But what we see in the evolution of the car and how it improved, it was not more or less than we expected in terms of numbers and everything. It's not really a huge step forward. It's a little step."