Nick Heidfeld's second place in final free practice proved to be something of a mirage in the Hungarian heat, as neither BMW Sauber driver made it through to the second phase of knock-out qualifying in Budapest.

With the field covered by just 1.6secs - and that margin stretched in the final shuffle - Heidfeld and team-mate Robert Kubica tried in vain to escape from the bottom five 'drop zone', but found that the developments fitted to the F1.09 this weekend weren't strong enough to change their fortunes. Heidfeld wound up 16th, missing the cut by a tenth, while Kubica will start from 19th on Sunday.

The Pole will be partnered, perhaps not surprisingly, by debutant Jaime Alguersuari, whose session ground to a halt in the final two minutes with suspected hydraulic problems on his Toro Rosso, while both Force India cars also exited. Adrian Sutil's chances of making the cut were hampered by ongoing work from his morning shunt which delayed his entrance to qualifying, although the German did manage to rise to 18th, while team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella vaulted to eleventh in the closing stages, only to see his efforts negated by minute improvements around him.

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Timo Glock's last-gasp improvement demoted the Italian back into the bottom five, while Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet both had close shaves for Renault, and Jarno Trulli likewise for Toyota.

Nico Rosberg eventually headed the session after a flurry of changes that saw Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both sitting in P1 for a while.