None of the two Sahara Force India drivers could make the top-10 as Paul di Resta qualified 14th on the grid and Nico Hulkenberg 16th for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, in Sepang on Saturday.
Resta's best lap time of 1:37.877 and Hulkenberg's 1:37.890, under hot weather conditions, could not get them into Q3, and scoring points on Sunday looks difficult for the side.
McLaren had a one-two finish on the grid, led by Lewis Hamilton, who got pole position by clocking the fastest lap in 1m 36.219, followed by team-mate Jenson Button (1:36.368).
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher was third (1:36.391) followed by Red Bull's Mark Webber (1:36.461).
Comeback man Kimi Raikkonen (1:36.461) was fifth for Lotus, and Red Bull's defending champion Sebastian Vettel (1:36.634) sixth. However, Raikkonen will start 10th due to his five-place penalty for a gearbox change.
Force India drivers put up a brave face despite the fact that things didn't exactly go their way.
"We definitely improved the car between final practice and qualifying. My laps in Q2 were good and I got sectors one and two right, but I maybe have lost out in the final sector, which I never really maximised," Resta said
"I think P14 is a reasonable place to start and hopefully our race pace and tyre management will pay off tomorrow. The other variable is the weather because there is always a high risk of showers late in the afternoon," the Scot added.
Rookie Hulkenberg said he got what was best possible out of the car and that it will be a challenging day for him on Sunday.
"To be honest, though, I don't think there was any more to come because I pretty much got the maximum from the car. Now it's all about racing well and using the strategy to try and come away with a result.
"Having already missed most of the race last weekend in Melbourne, it almost feels like the first race of my season, so hopefully, I can go the distance and have a strong performance. Tyre degradation will be a key factor in the race and the chance of rain could also mix things up," the German said.
Meanwhile, Narain Karthikeyan finally made it to the grid, qualifying in the 24th position, just behind team-mate Pedro de la Rosa. Karthikeyan, although, will start from 23rd after Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen was pushed to the bottom due to a five-place penalty.
Both the Hispania drivers had missed out on last week's season-opening race at Melbourne due to not coming within the 107 percent time of the fastest qualifying time.
Karthikeyan clocked 1 min 43.655 and Rosa 1:42.914.
"The team worked until late last night to resolve the cooling issues especially, along with other small niggles and the result was apparent in the morning. Even though the grip was lower than yesterday (due to the morning rain shower), the car felt significantly better," the Indian racer said.