Mark Webber's dismal start to the Chinese Grand Prix continued into qualifying, after then Australian was knocked out in the first phase of the grid-setting session.

Red Bull Racing appeared to be at fault for not sending Webber out on the softer Pirelli tyres for his final run, having dropped to 16th on the timesheets. When he was unable to improve his position, the 2010 title contender was a sitting duck as others found greater chunks of time and, when both Michael Schumacher and Pastor Maldonado moved up, Webber found himself unable to respond, having already taken the chequered flag. Apparently unable to use KERS, possibly as the result of his morning electrical problem, the Australian was more than three-tenths from making the cut.

Joining Webber on the sidelines will be the usual suspects as Team Lotus, Marussia Virgin and HRT all lost both their contenders, but there will be no non-qualifiers in China, with slowest runner Narain Karthikeyan comfortably within the 107 per cent time.

At the top of the timesheets, P1 swapped hands repeatedly in the closing stages before Nico Rosberg eventually secured the honours. Vitaly Petrov, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez all took turns in top spot during the 20 minutes.