The German, who caused a stir when he led much of the Melbourne race last weekend, reckoned he was in the mix for a top five slot on the Sepang grid before the weather intervened.
"The car was good in the dry and I felt very good in it," said Sutil, who was fastest of all in Q1. "I have had a confident weekend and so far was competitive.
"Q1 was great, and I did my fastest lap on used tyres, and we were then looking for one of the best qualifying sessions - but then the rain came and destroyed our plans.
"We knew it was going to be difficult in the rain. Normally I like it but with these tyres I don't feel comfortable in the car, as we have just so much oversteer."
When asked by AUTOSPORT if Force India's dry potential was as high as the front row, Sutil said: "I don't know about the front row. I think around top five was possible in the dry with a good lap because the car has been looking good.
"I am in P9 [starting eighth after Kimi Raikkonen's penalty]. I don't think this is our position in qualifying, as we should have ended more to the front."
Paul di Resta was even more frustrated after admitting that he and the team made a mistake by aborting a first-lap effort in Q2 before getting caught out by the rain.
"It was a bit of a cock up by the pit wall," explained the Scotsman, who starts 15th. "We misjudged the rain.
"However, I think our weather radar system went down like a few other teams, and that probably didn't help. The rain came three minutes earlier than it was supposed to.
"We also aborted the lap we were on in Q2 to make sure we were the first car on fresh tyres to complete a lap."