While the majority of F1's biggest names made it safely through to the final phase of qualifying for the German Grand Prix, steadily intensifying rainfall accounted for others who may have hoped to mix it up.

With black clouds gathering throughout Q1, the writing was on the wall for the second session, and the first serious precipitation began to fall as the teams readied themselves to retake the circuit. Jenson Button was first, banking on intermediates, and, despite a minor mistake, duly claimed top spot. He was quickly usurped, however, by Pastor Maldonado, before Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton took turns in P1.

As the rain increased, few drivers managed to improve, although Hamilton lowered the target time to 1min 37.365secs, nearly seven-tenths clear of second-placed Schumacher, with the rest at regular intervals in their wake. Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Button rounded out the top five, with Maldonado, Mark Webber, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta and Kimi Raikkonen joining them in the pole position shoot-out.

Even though others fitted wets in an effort to find the grip needed to move up the order, the amount of water on circuit proved too great to overcome, leaving Daniel Ricciardo - who had leap-frogged Webber to claim P10 only to be re-passed by his countryman just as the conditions worsened - the Saubers of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Bruno Senna and Nico Rosberg on the sidelines.