A mistake in his use of Mercedes' KERS caused Michael Schumacher's disappointing qualifying result in Abu Dhabi.
Schumacher only managed 14th place on the Abu Dhabi grid, and television viewers heard him and his engineer apologetically discussing a "harvesting" issue.
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn explained that this was not a technical problem, but an error by Schumacher.
"I think he got the engine braking wrong, what we call KERS harvesting - the way you collect the KERS and the way you use the KERS," Brawn said.
"It does affect the balance of the car, and he got a little bit out of sequence with it, and then he got caught out and lost some time in the first complex."
Schumacher added: "We were trying something different in the procedure and it just didn't work out."
Mercedes had looked unlikely to shine at Yas Marina until Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg made it into Q3 with his last Q2 lap.
Rosberg then qualified eighth, but Brawn said that result was down to the driver and his crew maximising the W03's existing potential rather than any breakthrough in car performance during qualifying.
"I think we managed to get our act together and squeeze the most out of the car," Brawn said.
"It was a very good lap from Nico. There was no specific change to the car. There was not something we could point to that was particularly significant, but everything came together well."
Rosberg said his engineers and mechanics should share the credit for the encouraging result.
"My engineers and I did a good job, and also the mechanics who managed to fix my car just in time for qualifying because there was a bit of an issue," he said.
"All of us did a good job, optimised the car and got the most out of it in qualifying."
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