Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi crashed out of qualifying at the first hurdle for the third time in 2010 after failing to haul himself out of 18th position with two late flying laps at Istanbul Park.

The Italian, who has blamed traffic for his previous two failures to make the cut, joined the six expected victims from the three new teams in bowing out after the opening 20-minute session, after chasing a constantly changing target in the final moments. While Liuzzi, who also clattered over the kerbs early in the session, strived to make up the time gap, those immediately ahead of him found gains of their own, increasing the margin that the Italian needed to make up.

The Force India driver, under pressure to perform with Paul di Resta waiting in the wings, wound up half a second shy of Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi - after the Swiss driver was shuffled to the bottom of the midfield pack - and joined Jarno Trulli,, Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock, Bruno Senna, Lucas di Grassi and Karun Chandhok in missing the cut.

At the top of the timesheets, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber led the way for Red Bull, setting an ominous tone for the rest of the session having supplanted McLaren's Jenson Button, who twice improved the benchmark before the season-long pacesetters appeared. Vettel's opening salvo slotted him into third behind the world champion, before he vaulted to the top with a 1min 27.067secs effort that ultimately proved to be nearly half a second better than anyone else could manage.