Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel admitted they could have performed better in qualifying for Sunday's German Grand Prix had they pitted for fresh wet tyres in Saturday's final qualifying.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari pitted for a set of new rain tyres midway through the Q3 shootout before clinching his second straight pole ahead of Vettel and Webber.
Australian Webber, who was later penalised five places for an unscheduled gearbox change, said: "We could have maybe, like Fernando, stopped but should have, would have, could have doesn't count.
"We're third, and I start eighth."
Webber admitted his tyres were too worn to perform when the track was at its fastest in the closing moments.
"It was a very intense, tricky session for drivers and engineers with decisions," said Webber.
"It was a challenge for us. In Q3, definitely to arrive on the straights in seventh gear was sometimes not possible, to use the kerbs wasn't possible and there was extremely heavy aquaplaning.
"When the car has wheel-spin at 280km/h, it certainly gets your attention," added Webber, who sits second in the world championship standings behind Alonso.
"So we had to juggle a few balls. We arrived at the end of the lap in reasonable shape. It was becoming obvious that times were going to be done at the end, but our tyres weren't in the best shape at the end."
Meanwhile, defending double champion Vettel echoed his team-mates views.
"I was not happy with my lap and I am sure Fernando's strategy was a bit quicker," said the German.
"I could have gone quicker, but we don't know if it would have been good enough.
"In these conditions it is tricky, you lose the car a little bit over the rivers on the track and you are on a different place than you targeted to be, but it's tricky.
"Nevertheless we had the pace today to put the car on pole in the end. I think it was possible.
"We need to have a look at what Fernando did at the end with the strategy, maybe that was the better way to do it, but overall I think in these conditions it's a bit of a lottery as well."