Sebastian Vettel was disappointed to miss out on progressing into Q2 on Saturday, but hailed clear signs of progress being made on his side of the garage following practice.
The Aston Martin driver was knocked out in Q1, down in 18th place, having failed to get a clean lap in during the session. By contrast, teammate Lance Stroll went on to finish in 10th after progressing into Q3.
It's a disappointing start to the new season for Vettel, after making the switch to a new team after a tough final year with Ferrari in 2020, but the four time Champion was actually quite pleased with his car afterwards.
"The car felt better in qualifying and all the work we have done since testing is taking us in a good direction," Vettel told Sky Sports.
"So we have the potential to be faster. Even though we are not starting where we want to be, it is tomorrow that counts."
Vettel wasn't able to put in a clean final lap in Q1, due to encountering traffic starting his lap as the yellow flags were shown as Nikita Mazepin spun his Haas at the end of the main straight.
Compounding the mess was a further yellow flag in the second sector for Carlos Sainz, whose Ferrari slowed with a minor technical issue at the end of A1.
"So it was a mess in the last sector warming up, I just made it across the flag by less than a second and then add two yellow flags," Vettel explained.
"My first lap in Q1 had quite a bit of margin for improvement, but I was just unlucky with my position on the track.
"I'm still learning. We're still learning. We're trying a lot of things to understand the car further. And, you know, I think it's obviously a tough weekend now starting so far back, but it is what it is."