Sergio Perez says his 15th position in qualifying "almost maximized" the potential of his Sauber.
The team suffered a disappointing qualifying as Kamui Kobayashi was relegated in Q1 and Perez could only make limited progress in Q2. Perez insists his best lap was pretty much on the limit of what could be achieved, as both drivers struggle with a perceived general lack of pace.
"Obviously, our overall performance isn't good here and I think we almost maximized what was possible in qualifying under the circumstances," Perez declared.
"My fastest lap was OK; there is nothing to complain about. I locked a wheel once but this wasn't the main problem. Perhaps the lap time could have been better by one or two tenths but for sure no more."
Kobayashi, meanwhile, was plagued by traffic in Q1, but conceded his team was struggling with its general performance.
"Of course it is disappointing to be out in Q1," he said. "My fastest lap wasn't perfect. I had some traffic in front and behind, but it is also the case that we have a general lack of pace here. The only positive thing is that I have now two fresh sets of the soft tIres left for the race. I will do my very best to recover from where I have to start."
Technical Director James Key admitted the qualifying struggles could force the team to change its race approach, saying: "This was a poor qualifying session and we have to think carefully about our approach to the race to make the best of it."