Carlos Sainz has revealed an "overstep" on his final lap in qualifying cost him a shot at his first F1 pole position.
Sainz will start from fourth on the grid at the Baku City Circuit but it could have been an end to his long wait to claim pole as the Ferrari driver was quickest after the first run in the final qualifying session.
But on the decisive lap, Sainz touched the wall on the exit out of turn two - where Aston Martin's Lance Stroll had crashed in Q1 - with his right-rear tyre, costing him almost half-a-second in sector one.
Sainz was 0.451s off his own leading time in that sector, ultimately finishing 0.456s behind team-mate and pole-sitter Charles Leclerc.
"It's a pity but at the same time we've made some progress throughout the day and I was feeling in contention for pole," said Sainz on Sky Sports F1 in reflecting on his qualifying session.
"After the last couple of races, and especially prior to Monaco, I wasn't [in contention], so [I've made] good progress.
"It's what happens when you push to the limit. Sometimes you take P1, as I took in Q3 run one, and then sometimes you overstep it, and clearly, I did overstep it [on the second run].
"Still everything to play for tomorrow. The starting position here doesn't matter that much so we're going to push."
A big question mark hangs over Ferrari's race pace, however, as the team has been behind Red Bull most recently in that aspect, and is nine kilometres slower through the speed trap at this track.
Sainz, though, is confident he and Leclerc can battle Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen who start second and third.
"We have a pretty strong chance also in the race," assessed Sainz. "It's been neck and neck with the Red Bull.
"Normally, 10 laps into a stint they seem to have better pace. It's yet to be seen this weekend. It's difficult to kind of predict right now.
"Long runs [in practice] on Friday are never long enough to tell us that but with a good start, smart strategy and driving, we can still be on the podium or win it."