The top ten shoot-out at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will contain two representatives from each of the current top five teams in F1, after Michael Schumacher survived another late drop to the edge of the drop zone.
The German came within three-tenths of a second of being usurped by Team Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen in Q1, and had a similar margin in hand over Sauber's Sergio Perez in the second phase, but did not have to worry about the threat to his position in the battle for pole after the young Mexican pitted. As a result, Red bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India will each have double representation in the final session.
Perez was joined in bowing out by Sauber team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, the two Toro Rosso drivers, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, Renault duo Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna, and the sole remaining Williams of Pastor Maldonado, which was unable to improve sufficiently through his one run to move away from 17th. With a ten-place grid penalty still to be applied following an unscheduled engine change, the Venezuelan will start 24th and last, alongside team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
Lewis Hamilton again marked himself out as favourite for pole by posting the fastest time of the weekend so far to beat Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.