Kamui Kobayashi was the first victim of the new Buddh International Circuit as qualifying got underway for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, missing the cut at the end of the opening phase.
The Japanese driver dropped into the danger zone when Michael Schumacher improved late on, and could find enough performance in his Sauber to overcome the four-tenths gap to 17th-placed Rubens Barrichello. Neither Sauber went out early in the 20-minute session, and Sergio Perez only avoided a similar fate after placing 16th.
Kobayashi will join the expected backmarkers in taking a watching brief for the rest of the session, but lapped seven-tenths faster than the best of the Lotuses, this time with Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel. The Finn pipped team-mate Jarno Trulli, who had paced the pair in practice, while Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed his best result by lining up just behind Trulli. Narain Karthikeyan, meanwhile, also gave the home crowd something to cheer after also getting ahead of both Virgins, Timo Glock having suffered an early gearbox problem that kept him in the garage.
Vitaly Petrov posted the fastest time of the session after bolting a set of softer Pirellis to his Renault. The Russian headed a top comprised of Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Nico Rosberg.