Nico Hulkenberg showed little respect to countryman Michael Schumacher on home soil at Hockenheim, pulling a late lap out of the bag for Williams and dropping the sport's elder statesman out of qualifying at the second stage.
Having languished outside the all-important top ten for much of the 15-minute session, both Schumacher and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg broke into the qualifying group with just a minute to run but, where Rosberg remained alive, Hulkenberg produced a final flying effort that lifted him to ninth and pushed Schumacher back to eleventh. Just 0.008secs separated the seven-time champion from Rosberg, with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi a further 0.058secs adrift having also been pushed out of the top ten shoot-out.
Vitaly Petrov, Adrian Sutil, Pedro de la Rosa and Toro Rosso twins Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi joined Schumacher and Kobayashi in the drop zone.
Once again, the pace was set by Fernando Alonso, who headed Red Bull team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber by around two-tenths, while Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton, Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button and Robert Kubica also made it through to the pole position shoot-out.