The grid for the Belgian Grand Prix was always set to change after qualifying, with both Mercedes drivers having received penalties prior to the session, but two further punishments were handed out after the chaotic opening phase, shuffling the second half of the line-up overnight.
While eleventh-placed qualifier Michael Schumacher entered the weekend with a ten-place penalty hanging over him after his overly-aggressive defence of tenth spot in the Hungarian Grand Prix, team-mate Nico Rosberg picked up his own five-place demotion when the Brackley-based squad was forced to change his gearbox after final free practice.
While their punishments were known, however, the on-off nature of the rain that fell in the opening 20-minute phase of qualifying always suggested that more may be handed out, and so it proved with both Timo Glock and Sebastien Buemi being found guilty of blocking rivals.
After Vitaly Petrov brought out the red flag by spinning off on his out-lap, the rest of the field was caught on slicks when rain began falling at the far end of the circuit, causing mayhem at Stavelot when Lucas di Grassi spun and forced several other drivers to take avoiding action. Although neither Glock nor Buemi were adjudged to have impeded anyone in that melee, the frantic need to find some clear space saw cars jostling for position.
Despite hauling his Virgin car into second qualifying, eventually taking 17th place, Glock will start from 22nd after being accused of blocking HRT's Sakon Yamamoto, while Buemi drops one spot after being hit with a three-place penalty for impeding Rosberg.
With the four penalties applied, Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari is promoted to eleventh spot, ahead of Tonio Liuzzi, Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen, Rosberg; the second Lotus of Jarno Trulli, Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Yamamoto, Glock, Schumacher, Pedro de la Rosa, Lucas di Grassi and Vitaly Petrov.