Sebastian Vettel refused to blame his KERS problems for missing out on Japanese Grand Prix pole, saying that teammate Mark Webber simply proved out of reach.
Vettel was hobbled by a failure on his energy recovery system on his first flyer, and ended up four tenths of a second adrift of Webber. The team was able to fix the problem in time for a second run, but Vettel once again fell short of Webber's benchmark.
The German denied the issue had interrupted his rhythm and detracted from his efforts to deny Webber.
"We had a problem this morning but I don't think it made a difference in terms of finding a rhythm – we have plenty of laps around this track," Vettel said.
"Congratulations to Mark, he did a great lap. I am not a fan of, 'If this, without this,' – it is always without this, and without it we are P2.
"I'm happy with the result [and the] front row for the team, which is great. The car was phenomenal today."
Vettel said the fact he ran wide at Spoon curve on his first flyer was proof he was on the limit.
"I think we are all pushing to the limit today: with the wind giving some gusts here or there, we are pushing and mistakes happen," he added. "I kept it on the track, and second time around I was a bit more conservative."