Nico Rosberg admitted that he came away from Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying disappointed not to have taken pole position after showing strong pace throughout free practice.
The German Mercedes driver was fastest of all in Friday and in the mix during qualifying simulation runs on Saturday morning. But Rosberg revealed that in Q3 he did not have the pace to match Sebastian Vettel's pole-winning Red Bull and the Ferraris after lining up fifth on the grid.
"I am disappointed for two reasons," Rosberg told the BBC. "I was actually hoping for pole position, to be honest, I was convinced that I could do it today. But we were missing a little bit of pace to do that. And then I should have been fourth I think. But it was so difficult out there with the tires overheating.
"If you one oversteer you overheated the tires and then the next couple of corners were just game over. It was really challenging. I think tires are going to be one of the main factors tomorrow. That's why we all went on the option also, because it is just a better race tire for the start and for the first couple of laps."
Rosberg still managed to outpace his seven-time World Champion teammate Michael Schumacher, who admitted that he still had some work to do to recover his low-fuel lap pace.
"It's certainly a little bit different for me," he said of the multi-session qualifying format that wasn't in place when he last raced in F1. "I feel that the time I had available in order to get on to the little peak of what our car could be doing, I have not yet got that one. As you see Nico is a bit quicker than me.
"But I am quite happy, we have steadily improved and we have worked quite well as a team, which is what counts at the moment a lot more. It is a long race. We will see and the year is even longer."