Sebastian Buemi was always unlikely to start anywhere but in the bottom seven places on the Hungarian Grand Prix grid after picking up a penalty at the Nurburgring, but that did not stop him attempting to improve his lot in opening qualifying.
The Swiss driver was carrying a five-place penalty for his part in Nick Heidfeld's retirement from the German race, but appeared to have done enough to make the cut in Q1 when a late improvement moved him ahead of Williams' Pastor Maldonado. However, even as the Toro Rosso driver embarked on what could have been a second flying lap - had he completed it - the Venezuelan hit back to claim his place in the second phase.
Buemi, who will thus start 22nd on Sunday, was joined in the bottom six by the expected Q1 casualties, with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli getting closest to the Swiss driver, with Timo Glock, Tonio Liuzzi, Daniel Ricciardo and Jerome d'Ambrosio bringing up the rear. It was a notable performance for all four tail-enders, however, as all comfortably made it inside the 107 per cent time.
At the top of the times, Fernando Alonso set the Q1 pace, after a late 1min 21.578secs lap pushed him ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.