Mark Webber was an unexpected casualty of round two of qualifying at the Chinese Grand Prix after appearing to run out of fuel on his return to the pits.
The Australian had recorded a respectable opening effort, but was next seen parking up at the hairpin amid apologies from the Red Bull pit-wall. Already unable to run in the third and final session as a result of failing to return, Webber just had to wait and see what fate dealt him in terms of grid position.
His slide down the order was slow to begin with, but accelerated in the final two minutes as the bottom six runners all made late bids for survival. He eventually succumbed when Adrian Sutil leapt into the top ten, and finally came to rest in 14th spot – a long way from the front row position he occupied in Malaysia ahead of the 'multi21' scandal.
Ironically, Webber will be joined on row seven by Sutil, whose bid to escape the drop zone lasted for less than a minute, and Force India's optimism over top ten qualifying spots was ended when Paul di Resta was also dumped out at the death. The Scot will share row six with Sergio Perez after the McLaren man's late lap failed to boost his position, while Pastor Maldonado and Jean-Eric Vergne round out those missing from Q3.
The Frenchman's plight was given extra emphasis by Toro Rosso team-mate Daniel Ricciardo's effort, the Australian recording the ninth best time to join Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg in the battle for pole position.