The arrival of the first rain of Formula One qualifying accounted for the early exit of both Robert Kubica and Timo Glock as the home contingent took an immediate hit at the Nurburgring.
The two 'big names' were caught in the danger zone when the first spots began to fall and were unable to pull anything out of the bag as the track got slower, with the cool temperatures not enough to evaporate any precipitation. Neither driver, however, had looked happy before the rain arrived, with the Toyota, in particular, appearing a handful for its German driver. Glock will line up 19th on Sunday, Toyota's worst start since its Monaco debacle, while Kubica, battling a car the BMW Sauber team itself regards as 'simply slow', will roll off 16th.
The pair join more familiar Q1 departees Sebastien Buemi, Giancarlo Fisichella and the under-fire Sebastien Bourdais on the sidelines, but Force India will have a part to play in Q2 following Adrian Sutil's 14th place.
Mark Webber topped the session for Red Bull Racing, the aggressive-looking Aussie fractionally ahead of Fernando Alonso and RBR team-mate Sebastian Vettel, although Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel all took turns at the head of the field as the pit-lane emptied early in order to get laps in before the rain arrived.