McLaren's season of woe continued in second qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix as Jenson Button failed to progress into the final phase.
While team-mate Sergio Perez did manage to find enough time to escape the drop zone, Button's gloom would have deepened to find that former colleague Lewis Hamilton had gone fastest of all for Mercedes for the second time in as many stages.
Button and Perez waited until the death to venture out for a second run on new medium-compound tyres but, while the Mexican moved into sixth spot, and ended up seventh as Hamilton hauled himself out of the bottom six to claim top spot by fully six-tenths.
Button will start from the outside of row seven, penalties pending elsewhere, sandwiched between Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Adrian Sutil ahead of him and the Saubers of Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez to the rear. The Mexican and both Toro Rossos all took turns to feature in the top ten, but the traditional shuffling of the order in the closing minutes eventually worked in favour of Perez and Paul di Resta.
The pair will join the two Red Bulls, Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotuses in the pole shoot-out, with Hamilton looking to make it three in a row, not only on this day in Barcelona, but for Mercedes in recent grands prix. The opposition, however, looks well-matched, with Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso both looking potent threats.