Vergne had looked set to reach Q3 as he showed strong pace in damp conditions, but ended up being one of just four drivers to go for slicks in the second segment.
That proved to be the wrong choice. Although Vergne ended up the best placed of those who stayed on slicks to the end of Q2, that left him only 13th on the grid.
The Frenchman said he had wanted to stay on intermediates, but assumed Toro Rosso had better information than him.
"Qualifying was going quite well on my first run," said Vergne.
"However, when I came into the pits after the long first run on intermediates, I was expecting to fit the same type of tyres again. But the team opted to put me on slicks.
"I believed they had a better picture of the situation than I did, but it turned out to be the wrong choice and cost me a chance to get into Q3, which is a shame."
Vergne's team-mate Daniel Ricciardo starts beside him on row seven.
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