World champion Sebastian Vettel pulled just enough time out of his final flying lap in part two of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix to ensure that he erased his Spa nightmare and made it into the shoot-out for pole position, but there was no such luck for Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.
Both drivers were forced to go out again in the final few minutes of the session, having been left outside the top ten by the initial efforts. While Vettel was fast enough to move up to ninth place, however, Webber - despite having been up on the split times - crossed the line just under a tenth shy of the final spot.
Joining Webber - who ensured that RBR had at least one driver outside the top for a third straight race - in making their exit at the end of Q2 were Pastor Maldonado, who survived a grassy moment at Ascari on his final throw of the dice, Sergio Perez, Bruno Senna, Daniel Ricciardo, Jerome d'Ambrosio and Jean-Eric Vergne, although one or more could find themselves promoted when Paul di Resta's five-place penalty is applied after Q3. Maldonado already faces a ten-place drop, leaving him outside the top 20 early on Sunday afternoon.
Fernando Alonso again gave the tifosi
hope of being able to celebrate a pole position after edging Jenson Button for top spot, while di Resta boosted Sahara Force India optimism by slotting into third place following team-mate Nico Hulkenberg's Q1 exit. Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa rounded out the top five and, along with the top two and both Mercedes drivers, opted not to make a run in the final moments.
Kamui Kobayashi vaulted up from 14th to eighth on his last-gasp effort, putting himself ahead of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in the order as the chequered flag fell.