Jenson Button appeared lucky to survive joining countryman Lewis Hamilton in the wrong half of the grid for the Monaco Grand Prix, as the second phase of the knock-out session eventually claimed the expected five names.

Points leader Button hovered around the edges of the trapdoor into the danger zone before finally dragging himself up to sixth spot, but continued to live life precariously as he was then pushed back towards the abyss - and then pitted before the chequered flag came out. Fortunately, those in the bottom five comprised the names left in the fray by the surprise exits in Q1.

Nelson Piquet Jr, Sebastien Buemi, Giancarlo Fisichella, Adrian Sutil and Sebastien Bourdais proved unable to muster a time good enough to haul themselves out of the drop zone, where they had remained for much of the 15-minute session. They did not help themselves, however, as Piquet who spun at Antony Noghes early on, and Fisichella lost his two earliest times after being found guilty of cutting the chicane. Eventually, three tenths split Buemi, in eleventh, from safety.

Kimi Raikkonen posted a late lap to move to the head of the times, knocking countryman Heikki Kovalainen from his perch, while Mark Webber, Rubens Barrichello and Q1 pacesetter Nico Rosberg filled the top five. Button was eighth, between Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, while Kazuki Nakajima made it into the top ten for the first time this season, giving Williams two representatives among the might of the sport's leading lights.