Mark Webber described the Suzuka Q3 traffic jam involving his Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton's McLaren and Michael Schumacher's Mercedes as an unfortunate accident of timing, but nobody's fault.
All three cars were trying to make it across the line to start final Q3 runs before the checkered flag fell in Japan.
Webber and Schumacher came upon Hamilton as the McLaren – which was not far behind teammate Jenson Button's car – slowed at the chicane, and went either side to pass it, with Schumacher slithering across the grass. As a result, neither Hamilton nor Schumacher made it to the line in time, and Webber's lap was compromised having gone off-line.
Hamilton's first lap had been good enough for third still, while Webber had to settle for sixth and Schumacher did not set a Q3 time in the end.
"I didn't want to pass [Hamilton] at all. I didn't want to get involved in any of that," said Webber. "But the team are saying, 'Come on, come on, get on with it, we're not going to be able to start the lap, you've got to push through the last chicane...'
"Lewis was obviously waiting for JB. Michael was coming. I thought, 'It can't be that bad because Michael's not all over me, so the guys are obviously leaving a bit of a margin' but then when we got to the chicane Lewis was sort of stopped.
"We all wanted to be the one car starting that lap, but with three of us it wasn't going to go. So that was a bit of a mess."
Webber added: "Lewis tried to block, then kept going, because he obviously didn't want me to pass. I got through, but very low. It was s**t for all of us. We all just wanted to open up a lap, but 10 minutes is the session time and we all got backed up."
The Australian underlined that he did not think Hamilton had been doing anything particularly wrong.
"He was looking for his three seconds to JB, I was looking for my three seconds to Lewis," said Webber.
He said the compromised start to his lap was just one of several issues that left him on row three.
"I'd started the lap with quite a bit of dirt on the tires and we saw the reflection of that in sector one," Webber said. "I made a little mistake in the hairpin and didn't open the DRS from the hairpin to Spoon. I don't know how much time I lost with that. It didn't help."
Webber's Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel took his 12th pole of the year at Suzuka, just ahead of Jenson Button's McLaren. But Webber is not sure that the qualifying results are an accurate indication of the race form.
"We saw Fernando [Alonso] in Singapore – a pretty strong qualifying and you would expect him to have a really good race. But he had a poor race. And JB's last stint [in Singapore] was in a different category," said Webber. "There's no real trend to Saturday and Sunday even at this point in the championship.
"I think generally if you have done a pretty good job in qualifying, you're still going to be OK in the race. But it's still pretty hard to predict. Tires are going to be the key. We'll see what happens with the DRS but I don't think it's going to be like Turkey. Tires will play a role. A lot of people were pretty keen to save a set."