An accident five minutes into the opening phase of qualifying for the German Grand Prix removed a lot of the interest from the session, as the Italian joined the drivers of the three newcomer teams in missing the cut.

Liuzzi had completed on flying lap before running wide at the final corner and putting a wheel on the still damp artificial turf installed beyond the kerb to prevent drivers from using lines beyond the limits of the circuit. The resulting wheelspin pitched the Force India round into the pit-wall, ripping off the left front and right rear corners in two separate impacts. The session was stopped for six minutes while the scene was cleared, but the battle to avoid the unlucky 'seventh spot' in the drop zone was largely removed.

As expected, Lotus, Virgin and HRT proved unable to bridge the gap to 17th place, where Jaime Alguersuari remained nine tenth of a second clear of Jarno Trulli, who improved on each of his last two laps to narrow the gap, albeit not by enough. The Italian headed Lotus team-mate Heikki Kovalainen as both got the better of Virgin's Timo Glock in the closing moments, while Bruno Senna will also start ahead of Liuzzi. HRT team-mate Sakon Yamamoto will line-up on the final row of the grid, alongside the luckless Lucas di Grassi, who failed to set a time due to gearbox problems, although both Glock and Force India's Adrian Sutil are likely to face penalties for gearbox changes.

Fernando Alonso set the pace at the front of the field, replacing Sebastian Vettel at the head of the times after lapping in 1min 14.808secs, the fastest of the weekend so far. Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, Red Bull's Mark Webber and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton completed the top five.

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