World champions Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher both failed to meet the qualifying standard in the second phase of the session at the European Grand Prix, with Ferrari missing the cut with both cars.

Such was the close competition in the 15-minutes session,. Felipe Massa in 13th was only three-tenths off the ultimate pace, with the likes of champions Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel all feeling the need to venture out again late in the game - at the expense of another new set of tyres - to ensure that they secured places in the top ten.

Alonso only pulled himself out of the drop zone in the final four minutes, but then found himself pushed back in by improvements from Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean - the Frenchman saving himself with the fastest time of all having just dropped into eleventh spot - and was unable to respond having returned to the pits. Schumacher found himself on the cusp and toppling over the edge when countryman Hulkenberg ensured two Force Indias in the top ten, with the seven-time champion only able to improve to twelfth on his final run.

Alonso and Schumacher will be joined on the sidelines by Massa, Bruno Senna, Sergio Perez, Heikki Kovalainen and Daniel Ricciardo, with the Finn claiming another Toro Rosso scalp at the end of the session.

Behind Grosjean, Nico Rosberg led the way for much of the 15 minutes, while di Resta also took a turn at the top early on. The trio will be joined in the pole position shoot-out by Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Button, Maldonado, Hamilton, Hulkenberg and Kamui Kobayashi