Kimi Raikkonen repeated Michael Schumacher's surprise exit from qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix, finding himself pushed out of Q2 as the BIC track continued to produce late gains for those prepared to wait.
As several drivers made the leap from the drop zone into the top ten, Raikkonen slipped in the opposite direction. When Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean made his own escape, it proved the final straw for the Finn, who was powerless to respond, having completed his final run. A tenth of a second separated Raikkonen from safety - and a spot in the pole position shoot-out - while Grosjean sat pretty in third place.
Also dropping out in the second session were Kamui Kobayashi, who failed to boost himself from tenth on his final run and was a sitting duck as Fernando Alonso leapt up the order, Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna Heikki Kovalainen and Pastor Maldonado. The Finn completed just a single flying lap, having not expected to feature in Q2, while Maldonado, already facing a five-place penalty for changing a gearbox, suffered a KERS problem and did not venture out at all.
Lewis Hamilton set the pace at the opposite end of the timesheet, edging Nico Rosberg by 0.01secs, with Grosjean, Mark Webber, Alonso, Jenson Button, Paul di Resta - who produced a lap just three-tenths off the pace despite missing FP2 - Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez completing the pole contenders.