Sebastian Vettel was expecting to be told he was "around 10th" when he responded to news he would be starting the Spanish Grand Prix all the way back in 16th by asking "are you kidding?" over the radio.
Aston Martin arrived at the Spanish Grand Prix weekend sporting big yet controversial upgrades, with their new car looking similar to that of the race-winning Red Bull RB18.
The FIA have concluded that there was no wrongdoing on behalf of Aston Martin, with Vettel joining his team in telling reporters that the new car concept was in the pipeline before pre-season testing had even begun.
But despite the optimism generated by their design overhaul, the team were unable to get out of Q1, and Vettel and teammate Lance Stroll are set to start Sunday's race back in P16 and P18 respectively.
Vettel was hoping for P10, not P16
Vettel was hoping for better when he crossed the line, despite a "busy lap" packed with corrections to combat his oversteer struggles.
"The lap was good, and there was nothing wrong with it," he explained, speaking to members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.
"It was just very busy. I mean, I was obviously sideways a lot and so on. But yeah, I don't know, we need to have a look.
"I was surprised. I expect to be somewhere around P10. We're not, it's simple as that.
"It's a bit disappointing, because I thought today we could do better, but it wasn't the case."
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Vettel still believes in Aston Martin's concept
Despite the four-time World Champion's Q1 exit, Vettel is not ready to rule out progress with Aston Martin's new upgrades.
The German driver is confident that the team have still taken a step in the right direction.
He continued: "We had good sessions [leading] up to qualifying and then I had lots of oversteer and struggled with balance. I just couldn't carry the speed I wanted to, that I was planning to.
"We knew that [the upgrade was] not going to be a massive step in performance straight away, but we do believe in the concept. We're confident that there's more to come."
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