Bruno Senna was already chasing time as he spun out of the opening phase of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, but grabbing too much kerb through turn twelve of the Circuit de Catalunya saved Jean-Eric Vergne from the ignominy of missing the cut once again.
The Frenchman, who has already dropped out in the opening session on three occasions, had failed to improve on his 17th-fastest time, leaving him a sitting duck if Senna could go faster, but the Brazilian was already trying to make up for a slow opening sector when he made his mistake, leaving his Williams in the gravel at the final complex.
The Brazilian joins the usual suspects in the bottom seven, with Vitaly Petrov getting the better of Caterham team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, and Charles Pic doing likewise over Timo Glock at Marussia. Pedro de la Rosa completes the grid as it stands at the end of Q1 as HRT team-mate Narain Karthikeyan's 1min 31.122secs effort was a long way outside the 107 per cent mark. The Indian, however, will undoubtedly plead his case to the stewards having been denied track time on Friday but posting a team faster than both de la Rosa and the 107 per cent mark in final practice.
Lewis Hamilton used a second set of tyres to post the fastest time at 1min 22.583secs, while the majority of the field used a single set with a view to the rest of the session and Sunday's race. The top five was completed by Romain Grosjean - showing no ill-effects from missing FP3 - Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado, while potential polesitters Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel claimed seventh, eighth, ninth and twelfth respectively.