Jaime Alguersuari was the man in the wrong place at the wrong time as the opening qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix came to an end at Monza.

The Spaniard, who is still fighting for his place at Toro Rosso in 2012, did not initially appear under threat, but was sitting 'on the bubble' when Rubens Barrichello posted an improvement on his final flying lap. The Brazilian had previously been forced into the 'drop zone' by a flurry of improvements around him, but dragged a faster lap time from his Williams when it mattered, relegating Alguersuari to the dreaded 18th position.

Alguersuari was still on track when Barrichello leaped into 14th spot, but aborted his final lap when it was clear he would not improve by enough to dislodge Toro Rosso team-mate Sebastien Buemi, who had also taken his turn in the danger area, along with Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna, while Pastor Maldonado suffered a DRS-induced clash with the barriers to make it through after a front wing replacement.

Alguersuari, who has scored points from 18th in previous races this season, joins the familiar Lotus, Virgin and HRT runners in the bottom seven, with Jarno Trulli 'best of the rest' after out-qualifying team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for only the second time this season.

Lewis Hamilton topped the session with a lap of 1min 23.976secs, leading Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.