The Spaniard, driving for back-of-the-grid squad HRT, said a faster car had ruined his quickest lap in Q1, leaving him down in 23rd position.
De la Rosa believes his lap would have been good enough to finish ahead of the two Marussias.
"It could have been a very good qualifying session, because towards the end I was nine tenths under my time, but on the last two corners I had another car ahead and we lost two positions," said de la Rosa.
"We must all respect each other but now we have to look ahead.
"Leaving that aside, I think we did a good practice session this morning and a good qualifying session; the car performed well and we would have been very close to the Marussias.
"But the important stuff comes tomorrow and we have to focus on getting off to a good start and fighting until the end. We expect a dry race, but on the evidence of these last few days anything is possible."
HRT team-mate Narain Karthikeyan qualified in 24th.