From second place in China, Mark Webber suffered the ignominy of being eliminated in the opening phase of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix - although the Australian may have cause to claim that he was blocked by another car on his final flying lap.

Finding himself bottom of the timesheets with a matter of minutes left, Webber had to produce a solid lap to make the cut and appeared on course to do so until an errant Adrian Sutil wandered across the road in front of the Red Bull as they approached the final turn. Delayed sufficiently to affect his lap, the Australian will start Sunday's race from 19th place.

Sutil, meanwhile, is likely to face sanction for his misdemeanour, although that will not help Webber's cause, but is already facing another start from the bottom five of the grid after a temporary reprieve failed to put enough margin between himself and the drop zone. The German will be joined on the sidelines by Force India team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella and both Toro Rossos, despite Sebastien Bourdais having topped the times in the very early stages.

Sebastien Vettel posted the fastest time of the 20-minute segment to keep Red Bull flying high in spite of Webber's exit, but will be wary of the likes of Ferrari and McLaren, both of which posted respectable frontrunning laps. Jarno Trulli, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello rounded out the top five.