Lewis Hamilton was gone even before most of his rivals had turned a wheel in the second phase of qualifying, but he was joined on the sidelines by several equally big names.

It says much about the current diffuser row that Kazuki Nakajima was perhaps the biggest casualty of the 15-minute phase, the Japanese driver unable to better 13th despite running with a part that many feel gives his team an advantage - unfair or otherwise. However, given his relatively low profile, it is those around him who will create a bigger stir by missing out on the top ten.

Hamilton was sidelined by an undisclosed problem 'at the rear' of his McLaren, but running in the session may not have made much difference to the Briton for team-mate Heikki Kovalainen managed to post the slowest time of those taking to the track, and will start just one place ahead of the world champion - provided that Hamilton's issue does not incur a penalty that drops him further back.

Also out in the last minute shuffle of those in and around the drop zone were Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso, who found themselves dumped into the bottom five with little time to respond.

Brawn GP once again stole the glory, with Rubens Barrichello again pipping Jenson Button for top spot, while Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica compeleted the top five.

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