Sebastian Vettel was the surprise name to fail to make it to the final stage of qualifying, with the German falling at the second hurdle.
The Red Bull man missed out by just 0.012secs after his final run in the session, meaning he failed to qualify in the top ten for only the fourth time since joining Red Bull at the start of 2009.
Alongside Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg failed to repeat the performance he showed in Q1 as he had to settle for twelfth, with Michael Schumacher down in 13th as neither Mercedes made it to the final stage of the session; the German apologising to his team afterwards on the radio.
Felipe Massa, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo and Bruno Senna also dropped out, the latter having suffered a spin before setting a timed lap that affected his Q2 run.
Jenson Button was quickest ahead of Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen heading into the final stage of the session.