Robert Kubica was left lamenting a mistake by his BMW Sauber team in the final segment of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Pole made good use of the improvements introduced for this race to make it into the final shootout for the first time in three races.
But the Pole was then unable to improve any further when his team fitted him with the wrong tires for his last run.
Kubica will start tomorrow's race from 10th position.
"Qualifying started really well for me," said Kubica. "I did two solid runs in Q1 and then an excellent one in Q2. The time was even good enough to take a little gamble. I only did one outing to save a set of tires. This worked out, and it is a clear indication we have made progress with the performance of the car.
"But then in Q3 the car understeered heavily right from the beginning of the decisive lap. It was clear that something was wrong and I came back to the pits. It's disappointing that this problem hindered me in getting the full potential out of the car."
Nick Heidfeld went out in Q2 and will start from 13th place, the German feeling he could have done much better.
"It is good news that our car has obviously improved with the new aero package, so it is even more regrettable that I couldn't get the most out of it," said Heidfeld.
"After I went off in turn twelve in this morning's free practice and hit a tire barrier I couldn't do anymore running to prepare for qualifying. Predictions for the race are difficult and overtaking isn't easy in Barcelona, but I still hope for points."