He had an accident to blame for his qualifying 'failure' on the streets of Monaco a couple of weeks ago, but Lewis Hamilton simply could not summon sufficient pace from a twitchy-looking McLaren around Istanbul Park and will start the Turkish Grand Prix from 16th on the grid.
Unlike Monaco, the Briton was the only high-profile casualty on the first phase of qualifying in Turkey, dropping into the bottom five with four minutes to go and then missing out on two successive attempts to recover a top 15 spot as the MP4-23 bucked around the lap.
Hamilton was joined on the sidelines by Nelson Piquet Jr, whose job looks even less secure after ending his final flying lap broadside in the gravel, and Giancarlo Fisichella, who ended the 20-minute session sandwiched between the two Toro Rossos, which failed to match their Monaco performance of making the cut for Q2.
Hamilton's disappointment was good news for close friend Adrian Sutil, however, as the Force India driver made it through to phase two for the second consecutive race. Also through, unlike last time, were both Toyotas and BMW Saubers, with the former looking far quicker than in the past two rounds as Jarno Trulli mounted an early assault on fastest time. Trulli eventually wound up seventh, with team-mate Timo Glock 13th, while Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld claimed tenth and eleventh for BMW.
Sebastian Vettel eventually came out on top of an ever-changing timesheet, which featured 13 different times for drivers to chase during the session.