It is an indicator of just how far Vijay Mallya's team has come in recent races that losing both cars in the first phase of qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix merits more of a headline than former driver Giancarlo Fisichella doing likewise for Ferrari.

However, that was the situation after the opening 20 minutes of action in the crucial timed session, as neither Adrian Sutil or Tonio Liuzzi could summon up enough of an improvement on their final run around the Marina Bay circuit to make the cut for Q2.

Sutil was the last man to cross the line at the end of the session, but his 1min 48.231secs best wasn't enough to lift him above 15th, while team-mate Liuzzi remained locked into last spot as he continued to learn one of the more complicated circuits on the calendar. After front row results in Belgium and Italy, the outcome was particularly disappointing.

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Ironically, however, former pilot Fisichella also missed the cut, also struggling throughout the session and only managing 18th spot at the end of the opening phase. With half a second between final qualifier Timo Glock and Sutil, Fisichella needed more again to escape the drop zone and will start sandwiched between rookies Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean. After his embarrassing spin in opening practice on Friday, the Frenchman began qualifying with a trip down the escape road, and continued to claim a lack of brakes to the end.

Morning pacesetter Lewis Hamilton went fastest again, heading Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen. The Brawn driver was a lot happier with his car after struggling in FP3, but Raikkonen had to hustle his Ferrari on the softer tyres in order to haul himself away from the edge of danger. Title contender Rubens Barrichello was sixth fastest, but knows that he will have to add five places to his Q3 performance after being forced to change the gearbox in his Brawn.