If Rubens Barrichello's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend looked bad after opening practice on Friday, it got worse on Saturday as problems from FP3 hung over sufficiently to deny him a shot at qualifying for what might be his penultimate F1 appearance.
The Brazilian was always expected to miss the start of the 20-minute as the Williams team battled to cure an oil leak on a brand new Cosworth, but a proposed three-lap run at the end was also aborted as the repairs failed to work. With team-mate Pastor Maldonado due to take a ten-place penalty for moving on to a ninth engine of 2011, it is not inconceivable that Williams could find both
its cars on the back row of the grid.
Barrichello's misfortune was almost overshadowed by former team-mate Michael Schumacher, who also found himself in the pits as the clock ticked down. The German had at least got a time on the board, but his slide down the order, coupled with Heikki Kovalainen finding almost two-tenths on the softer tyre, left the Mercedes man poised on the brink of the drop zone. Only a lack of time and laps prevented Kovalainen from improving further and potentially embarrassing the seven-time champion.
Instead, Barrichello was joined in the bottom seven by the usual suspects from Lotus, Virgin and HRT, with Kovalainen leading the charge from Lotus team-mate Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Daniel Ricciardo - who had previous sat just a couple of tenths off the lead Lotus - Jerome d'Ambrosio and Tonio Liuzzi.
At the top of the timesheets, Lewis Hamilton continued McLaren's strong start to the weekend, by leading from Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.