Kamui Kobayashi might have, briefly, enjoyed life at the front of the f1 grid in Belgium, but was left with an altogether more sour taste in his mouth in Singapore as he failed to progress through the first phase of qualifying.

The Japanese driver was dropped back into the danger zone with a couple of minutes left, but proved unable to find the two tenths he needed to escape again before the chequered flag. The Sauber ace could not even really complain about being caught out by others using Pirelli's supersoft tyre, even through the three fastest times of the 20-minute session were produced on them, and joined an otherwise familiar line-up in the bottom seven, with both cars from Caterham, Marussia and HRT lining up beneath him.

At the front of the field, it also appeared to be business as usual as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel assumed the top two spots, albeit this time with the German initially behind his McLaren rival, but the decision of various lesser runners to employ the softer Pirelli rubber to ensure their place in Q2 eventually saw Romain Grosjean, Paul di Resta and Kimi Raikkonen take over. Vettel's response - having been asked to continue running despite posting a 'safe' time - lifted him above Hamilton, while Mark Webber - like his team-mate the last of the 24 runners to take to the track - Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso completing the top ten.

Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna all appeared to be under threat of becoming a big name scalp should those beneath the trapdoor respond by throwing supersofts at their plight but, even though the Williams driver brushed the wall, he survived to fight another session.