Ferrari began frantically working on Sebastian Vettel’s car near the end of qualifying.
There appeared to be something wrong with the air pressure line to the engine.
Mechanics shielded the view but he was already left behind by team-mates Charles Leclerc.
The driver was then forced to leave his car.
Despite having to watch his team-mate Charles Leclerc finish on the podium, Vettel showed a mature attitude considering the frustration of what happened.
It was the total opposite to his show in Canada when Lewis Hamilton edged him to victory in controversial circumstances.
“The car was obviously broken so we couldn’t fire it up and go,” he said.
“We fairly quickly made the decision to change but it’s not so easy to take the bodywork off.
“We done everything we could be we couldn’t get it done in time.
“There’s nothing you can do inside the car. It’s nobodies fault but we need to understand what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“At that time it’s nobodies fault, I knew most likely that if we fixed it there would be one run so I tried to focus solely on that.
“As much of a pain it is, it’s good to see that the other car came through and got pole.
“I’m happy for the team, obviously not happy for my side. We’ll have a good day and a good race tomorrow.”
Former Renault drive Jolyon Palmer told BBC Radio 5 live: “What a shame for Vettel. Things are just not going his way at the moment.
“Here, Ferrari have the best car – Leclerc has a three tenth gap to Vettel – and both Ferraris could have been up there.
“Starting from ninth on the grid, that’s a real shame.
“This is clearly no fault of his. I feel really, really sorry for him.”