Jenson Button said he was consoled by the fact he had saved a set of tyres after qualifying only fourth for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old Englishman said he abandoned his final fast lap in his McLaren in Q3 because he felt it was wiser to pull out if he did not believe he could improve his time.
Button said: "Fourth place is not all I'd hoped for, but it's always a horrible feeling on that last lap in Q3 when the balance isn't quite where you want it.
"I couldn't get the best out of it and I pitted early, which isn't a bad thing. Less laps on all tyres, I think is a positive. And P4 is not a bad position."
Button will start behind the revived Red Bulls and his McLaren team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton.
The 2009 champion added he felt it was good for Formula One to have defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber back at the front of the field.
They finished first and third on the grid, sandwiching Hamilton.
He said: "It makes the race a lot more fun. I'm looking forward to the challenge."