Felipe Massa has become perhaps the biggest qualifying casualty of the entire 2009 season by missing the cut in the first session in Malaysia.

The Brazilian was in the Ferrari garage when the chequered flag came down, and found that a late rash of fast laps had relegated him 16th spot and an early bath.

Whether a miscalculation or a problem has yet to be revealed, but the Brazilian - and Ferrari - faces a mountain if he is to get anything from the weekend.

Massa was joined on the sidelines by the expected figures of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil, while Sebastien Buemi props up the grid after skating off the road while seemingly poised to move up.

The final causalty was Nelson Piquet Jr, who had opted to do another lap when apparently safe in the top ten, but failed to improve enough and dropped like a stone to 17th.

Top spot changed continuously, with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen setting the early pace - before slumping to 14th - and the likes of Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli taking over before Rubens Barrichello took the honours with a weekend-best 1min 34.681secs effort

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