Jean-Eric Vergne started the Canadian Grand Prix weekend by admitting that he needed to raise his game in qualifying if he was to improve the fortunes of the Toro Rosso team, but could not do so around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Frenchman, who started his F1 career with eleventh on the grid in Australia but has missed the Q1 cut on several occasions, twice failed to improve sufficiently to escape the drop zone in Montreal and, to make matters worse, he ended the session behind both Caterhams as a late lap from Heikki Kovalainen allowed him to join team-mate Vitaly Petrov ahead of the Frenchman.

While the make-up of the bottom seven failed to change in the closing moments, various drivers flirted with the trapdoor, with Daniel Ricciardo, Bruno Senna and Paul di Resta among those to occupy P17. Fate, however, shone favourably on them, leaving Vergne to be joined by the six usual suspects as he made his exit.

At the other end of the table, Sebastian Vettel claimed top spot for Red Bull, a tenth ahead of McLaren duo Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso - both of whom topped the times at various points in the 20-minute outing - completing the top five.