Fernando Alonso was left to rue "cruel luck" for McLaren after he suffered a puncture during his final attempt during the first knockout segment of qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Alonso was on course for a slot in Q2 but sustained a puncture and had to return to the pits, scuppering his chances of making it through to the next phase of the session.
"Our car has performed better in every session than we initially anticipated," said Alonso, who will line-up from 17th place.
"So it was cruel luck to get a puncture at possibly the most critical point of the whole weekend; the final run of Q1.
"That was unfortunate, because we’d been looking very competitive, and our car seems to be performing quite well around here."
Team-mate Jenson Button managed to qualify in 12th place but was still disappointed with his result.
"We changed the set-up overnight and everything really worked well," he said. "In fact, the car feels the best it has all year, which is always promising at the end of a long season.
"My lap in Q1 was good; it was good in Q2 too, but I think the others got their laps together and put us in our place, which was 12th.
"So it’s disappointing to end up outside the top 10, particularly as we felt we had a fighting chance of getting through to Q3 for the first time this year."