Jean-Eric Vergne missed the cut in the opening phase of qualifying for the second grand prix in a row after finishing 18th in Q1 for the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Frenchman, who qualified eleventh on debut in Melbourne, could only repeat his Sepang result in Shanghai, and will be just as concerned by the seven-tenths gap that separated him a place in Q2, and Toro Rosso team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

As expected, Vergne will join the usual suspects on the sidelines, with Heikki Kovalainen surviving a last-gasp lap from Caterham team-mate Vitaly Petrov to hold on to a spot on the inside of row ten. The Finn, however, was involved in an on-track incident with Williams' Pastor Maldonado that could see the Venezuelan punished for impeding the Caterham. Timo Glock managed to open out a half-second gap to Marussia team-mate Charles Pic to claim 21st place, while Pedro de la Rosa got the better of HRT team-mate Narain Karthikeyan as all seven 'non-qualifiers' made it inside the 107 per cent mark.

At the sharp end, Sergio Perez produced the fastest lap of the 20-minute session, but only after fitting a set of the softer Pirelli tyres. The Mexican was not alone in his decision - and needed something to pull himself away from the 'drop zone' - as both Ferraris, both Lotuses and, most surprisingly, McLaren's Jenson Button all did the same.

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