Jaime Alguersuari was powerless to prevent himself from dropping out of British Grand Prix qualifying at the initial stage at Silverstone having been sat in the pits when his Toro Rosso fell through the trap-door.

The Spaniard had entered the final six minutes of the session in the bottom seven positions, but pulled out a lap good enough for 17th spot, demoting Force India's Tonio Liuzzi into a spot he has come to know over the opening nine races of the season. Liuzzi was not to be denied however and, with Alguersuari heading for the pits, banged in a lap that hauled him up to 16th, pushing the Toro Rosso back into the drop zone. The Italian ended the session just a couple of tenths slower than Michael Schumacher, in 15th place.

Alguersuari joins the familiar faces from the three new teams in bowing out at the end of the first session, with Heikki Kovalainen just getting the best of Timo Glock in the battle to top their own division. The German, however, got the better of the second Lotus of Jarno Trulli, with Lucas di Grassi getting the better of the HRTs of Karun Chandhok and returnee Sakon Yamamoto, who again appeared to be having problems with his neck after just a handful of laps.

At the sharp end of the field, Red Bull continued its domination, with Sebastian Vettel again fastest of all, but only a matter of hundredths ahead of team-mate Mark Webber. Fernando Alonso, Adrian Sutil - defying a gearbox-induced engine change - and Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top five.