Gabriel Bortoleto cut a frustrated figure in the Melbourne paddock after a mistake on his final lap in Qualifying ended his hopes of pole position and saw him end the day in ninth.

Ahead of the final efforts, the Invicta Racing driver was up in fifth and looked to be in contention for top honours.

However, he went wide at the exit of Turn 12, sending him through the gravel and, while he was able to rejoin the track, he could not finish the lap and quickly returned to the pit lane.

With other drivers behind him improving, it dropped him down to ninth for the Feature Race. However, that result secures him a front row start alongside Trident’s Roman Stanek for the Sprint event.

READ MORE: Stanek targeting maiden Formula 2 victory in Melbourne Sprint Race

“I'm feeling really bad actually,” said Bortoleto. “But it is what it is, we move on. I think you cannot always have the best quali, I need to understand some stuff that I am doing wrong.

“The pace is there, the car is great, and I think we can be fighting for good things, I just need to put things together on my side.”

Asked whether the pace of the car is makes him positive about what is to come, the Brazilian said said: “Yeah absolutely. I am always positive, but I am also realistic. When I do a bad job, I know when I do a bad job and when I do a good job, I know when I do a good job.

Bortoleto was frustrated by a late mistake in Qualifying that left him P9
Bortoleto was frustrated by a late mistake in Qualifying that left him P9

“In this situation I have not been doing my best, I know what I can do, and I know the potential I have in a one-lap situation. I know I am quick, I know that the car is very quick, so it is just about making things work again and getting back to where we started in Bahrain actually.”

The McLaren Driver Development Programme talent now heads into the Sprint Race with his eyes set on a maiden F2 victory. He has prior success in Melbourne to fall back on, having won the Feature Race from pole position in Formula 3 last season.

However, he acknowledges that his Albert Park experience is not serving him as well as he would like this weekend, as he identified exactly what he needs to improve on heading into both races.

QUALIFYING: Hauger comes through Red Flags for maiden F2 pole

“I mean it’s very difficult to put it all together in Melbourne but it’s the same for everyone actually. I'm probably the guy that has done more laps than anyone around here in this paddock, in the sim or whatever.

“It's the same for everyone. It just depends on how well prepared, what your mind is like in the moment that you start a lap, how well you prepare for the event, the tyre warmup, all these little details count at the end of the day and that's what I need to focus on.

“Warming up my tyres well and putting the lap together actually because that's what I've not been able to do in the last two Qualis.”

Giving his prediction for the races, Bortoleto said: “For tomorrow we can still do something. It's quite good, we start in the front row so we can maybe fight for a win, a podium.

“But on Sunday, I don't know what to do, depends on the strategy we get, the tyres that we use, and we will see this after the race tomorrow. Having data from tomorrow's race will be important. Nothing really decided for Sunday yet.”