Michael Schumacher's recent F1 form counted for little when it came to attempting to make the final phase of qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix, as the German veteran was pushed out by less-storied rivals.
The seven-time champion had escaped the 'drop zone' inside the final five minutes, but was in the pits and helpless to defend his ninth place as the younger hopefuls took to the track for their final flying laps.
Adrian Sutil was the first to improve, his move into ninth dropping Jaime Alguersuari through the drop zone trap-door, but the Spaniard bounced straight back to replace Schumacher in tenth. The Mercedes man had reported a vibration on his flying lap, however, and was in no position to respond, leaving those around him to fight over the minor places.
In the end, however, only Alguersuari suffered, the Toro Rosso driver being pushed back into the bottom seven as Paul di Resta improved enough to join Force India team-mate Sutil in the pole position shoot-out. Schumacher, meanwhile, joined two Toro Rossos, two Saubers, Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna in missing the cut as each tried - and failed - to improve their position.
Lewis Hamilton again led the way at the top of the times, and will be joined in the pole position shoot-out by McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, Red Bull twins Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari pairing Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, plus Renault's Vitaly Petrov, Nico Rosberg and the two Force Indias.