Michael Schumacher says he opted for a strategic approach to qualifying in light of the rain that is forecast for Sunday's Brazilian GP.
The German struggled for pace in the opening two segments on Saturday afternoon and only just made it into Q3 by 0.014s.
However, once in the top-ten shoot-out, the Mercedes GP driver opted not to post a lap time, putting him tenth on the grid.
The decision not to run, though, does allow Schumacher to choose which tyres he wants to start the 71-lap race on, which may prove to be a great call given that rain is expected during Sunday's grand prix.
"The forecast says there is a high probability for rain during the race," Schumacher said.
"With this in mind, we have kept all of our options open for tomorrow and we had a strategic approach to qualifying today.
"Still we need to find out why we weren't able to match our times from this morning.
"There will be a lot of data checking now, so that tomorrow it will be very different and we can attack for some points."
But while Schumacher did not have the best Saturday afternoon, his team-mate Nico Rosberg fared much better. The younger German put his car up into second place in Q2 and qualified sixth for Sunday's race.
"That was a good qualifying session today. We saved a set of option tyres for the race, and we qualified ahead of one of the Ferraris which has always been my goal during the season.
"So I'm quite pleased to be starting from sixth place tomorrow.
"I was maybe a little too slow on my out lap in Q3 so my tyres didn't work perfectly on my fast lap, and that's why I wasn't as quick as in Q2.
"I will push to gain a good result tomorrow for the team who have done a great job over the whole season."