Sebastian Vettel said he felt no great disappointment at seeing his run of pole positions come to an end in Spain, and played down the impact of his KERS issues on the result.
The world champion had started from the top spot at every race so far this year prior to Catalunya, and had also taken pole for the 2010 finale in Abu Dhabi.
But in Spain today his team-mate Mark Webber denied him first place with a lap 0.2 seconds faster.
"I don't think we can speak of big disappointment," said Vettel. "At the end of the day we made a good step forward and Barcelona is usually a place where you bring lots of parts, and find out they work.
"In Q1 I didn't get into the rhythm immediately but made it on prime tyres, in Q2 I felt happier on the soft compound and in last qualifying I lost a little bit too much, wasn't happy with my lap.
"We had some problems and Mark did a good job. It was between us, he did a better job today. Tomorrow is a long race, we saved a set of tyres - as did the top three and Jenson [Button] - we will see what we can do tomorrow."
Vettel did not have KERS for either Q2 or Q3, but insisted this was not the factor that cost him pole.
"I didn't use KERS in Q2 and Q3, but it's not right to say I didn't have KERS and [therefore] Mark got pole - he deserved pole," said Vettel.
He is confident that the issue can be resolved before the grand prix, and said he was more focused on the improvements that the team had made to the car than the continued KERS niggles.
"I am not afraid in the race, in the race I think we will be on top of it again," he said. "In the end it seems to be an endless story. The guys are pushing very hard, we did an exceptional job. Today we have proved our car has become quicker, we had a quick base but we made it even quicker - so big compliments to the aero guys."