Carlos Sainz is "convinced" that he could have qualified in the top three with a clean qualifying lap, but was let down by poor coordination by Ferrari.
When starting their final runs in Q3, both Sainz and Charles Leclerc were among the first out of the pits as Ferrari was wary of the impending threat of rain that could hit the circuit.
During their out laps they encountered traffic behind, assumed they were on 'push' laps and let them past, only for their competitors to slow down in the next couple of corners.
This compromised Sainz's tyre preparation, which is crucial around Melbourne to extract lap time.
"I had a bit of a bad preparation lap with the tyre temperatures," said Sainz.
"We let by two or three cars because the [team] told me they were on a push lap and I had to slow down a lot to get them past.
"Then they slowed me down because they were not [on flying laps] and I lost two three tenths in sector one for tyre prep. Then I had to risk a lot in sectors two and three and picked up the pace and I did actually a very good lap after that."
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Sainz: Team needs to find a better way to collaborate
The Ferrari driver starts from P5 alongside Lance Stroll on the grid, while Leclerc was left frustrated by his own performance starting in P7.
Sainz believes better coordination is needed from the team so they do not emerge in traffic, as he felt a top three was on the cards if he was able to compete a clean lap.
"With Fernando and Ocon, I had a lot of problems with traffic," explained Sainz.
"We need to find a better way to collaborate because in the end I had a terrible out lap that cost me probably a top three."