Sebastian Vettel admitted that a mistake with his timing prevented him from challenging harder for pole position at the German Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver had planned to put in two flying laps at the end of Q3, but was restricted to just a single effort after failing to cross the finish line in time to start a final flyer at the end of the session. His one flying lap was good enough for fourth place on the grid, behind his pole-sitting teammate Mark Webber and the Brawns of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button, although that fell below his own high expectations.
"It's obvious if you look at what Rubens and Jenson did, that it was possible to improve significantly on your second lap on the option tires," Vettel said. "I knew it would be close, but I thought I would have time for a second lap, so I probably didn't put enough effort in to working the tires, because I wanted to save them for the second lap.
"Then, when I came out of the last corner, I saw the red light and the checkered flag and that was it pretty much over.
Vettel, who has won twice this year, denied that the pressure of racing at his home even was getting to him.
"It has affected me, but in a positive way," he added. "You used to see everyone here dressed in red [for Ferrari-mounted Michael Schumacher], and most of them still are, but some of the hats are changing from red to dark blue now, and it's nice to get so much support."
And he is confident of challenging for victory on Sunday, such is the pace of the Red Bull in both wet and dry conditions.
"We should be fast," he added. "In qualifying it was wet, dry, wet, and whoever was on the right tires at the right time had the advantage. We will have to see what happens with the weather."