Kevin Magnussen admitted he had high hopes for qualifying at Suzuka on Saturday only to be disappointed when he was eliminated at the first hurdle.
The Renault Sport F1 driver had shown good pace during practice earlier in the day and felt he should have joined team-mate Jolyon Palmer in Q2 for the Japanese Grand Prix, but was baffled to why he could not advance.
“We had good pace in FP3 this morning and looked strong, so I was hopeful for qualifying, especially as the car and conditions felt similar to this morning,” said Magnussen.
“We seem to lose pace, however, which was surprising. Maybe others picked up theirs, I’ll have to look at the data.”
Magnussen still believes the team can reach points for a third consecutive race, but feels it may be more difficult than in the past two races, and hopes a bit of rain can liven up the race and bring them into contention for the top ten.
“In the position we are now to start tomorrow’s race, a bit of rain might not be bad!” said Magnussen. “Regardless, we will race as hard as always and we all know a lot can happen in 53 laps.”