Nico Rosberg reckons he could have qualified higher than sixth on the grid if he had not encountered Lewis Hamilton's McLaren in the final sector of his out-lap.
The Mercedes driver had been quick throughout practice and the team believed he could challenge for a front row start, but decided to abort his flying lap in Q3 after beginning it behind the Briton.
"We had a lot of potential going into qualifying, but unfortunately I can't be happy with the outcome today," said the German. "We were quick throughout but when I was just about to start my final lap, Lewis was slowing down in the last corner. I had to start my quick lap behind him which made it impossible to improve my time.
"We know it's tricky in the last sector here and there is an agreement in place to stop things like this happening so it's frustrating. It will be an interesting race tomorrow from a strategy perspective, and I hope there will be the opportunity to make up some places."
Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug said he was disappointed by the missed opportunity: "While Nico's first run in Q3 put him P1, his second ended in traffic as he caught a car in the final sector where you are not allowed to slow down. As his times in Q2 and Q3 proved, it is clear that Nico would have had a shot at the front row of the grid without this handicap."
Rosberg's team-mate Michael Schumacher will start 12th having failed to make Q3 for the second time this year.
"Of course, I'm not particularly happy about not making it through Q2 but that was clearly down to me - I didn't get my lap together," said the 43-year-old. "On my first run, I was too aggressive in turn 12 on my first timed lap, then had to abort the second lap and pit because the tyres were no longer in good enough condition to improve.
"After that, I was a bit too conservative on the second run and that cost us, because the times were so close today."