Vitaly Petrov joined the expected victims at the end of first qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix, unable to wring enough from his Renault to make the move into Q2.

While Lotus, Virgin and HRT filled their anticipated positions at the foot of the timesheet, Petrov was dropped into the 'unlucky' 18th spot when Sebastien Buemi improved in the closing stages of the 20-minute session, and the Russian's ragged 'all-or-nothing' lap did little to help his cause. The early exit was particularly disappointing given the rookie's top five performance on Friday, but ensures that Scuderia Toro Rosso has two representatives in Q2 after Jaime Alguersuari missed out in Bahrain.

The session was again led by Red Bull, as final practice had been in the morning, but this time it was Sebastian Vettel in P1, clocking 1min 24.774secs to edge out Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, who closed to within a hundredth on his final lap. Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top five ahead of Webber. Felipe Massa, meanwhile, continued to struggle with the set-up of his Ferrari, notably trying to generate enough heat in his tyres on a cool evening in Melbourne.

Heikki Kovalainen claimed newcomer bragging rights, ahead of Lotus team-mate Jarno Trulli, as the first drops of rain began to fall on Albert Park.