Kamui Kobayashi reckoned that only a brake issue cost him a top 10 start for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Sauber driver - who took his first Formula 1 points at this event last year - will start 12th, but was confident that he could have made it into the top 10.
"I missed Q3 by just a fraction of a second, and it was definitely a possibility for our car on this track," Kobayashi said.
"In general the car is much better than it was on Friday, and my lap was quite okay. But since we changed the brake material for free practice three, which is routine, I have had problems.
"The brake balance between front and rear isn't right. This obviously results in a lack of confidence and makes it difficult to put three perfect sector times together."
He remains optimistic that he can get into the points in the race.
"Nevertheless I'm very much looking forward to the race tomorrow, and I believe I can score points from where I am starting," he said.
Kobayashi's team-mate Nick Heidfeld was 14th, and while happier with the Sauber than he had been in practice, the German felt his tyre temperature had not been sufficient.
"We have improved the car a lot since Friday," he said.
"Qualifying wasn't bad, but I am not completely happy. It takes a few laps to heat up the tyres.
"The last lap was okay, I had no traffic or mistakes, but I still could feel there was more grip to come from the tyres."