Jenson Button's hopes of finally cracking the British Grand Prix
podium took a hit as he failed to progress beyond the second phase of knock-out qualifying at Silverstone.
The Briton clung to a tenuous tenth spot for a short period, only to be demoted by Kimi Raikkonen's late improvement and there was no time for the McLaren
man to respond as the MP4-28 continued to struggle for pace. With team-mate Sergio Perez already condemned to 14th spot, the Woking team will again be playing catch up on Sunday afternoon.
It wasn't only McLaren
in the mire, however, as Lotus only escaped by the skin of its teeth, getting both Romain Grosjean
and Raikkonen into ninth and tenth, while Felipe Massa
failed to improve enough to join Ferrari
team-mate Fernando Alonso
in the pole position shoot-out.
The Brazilian will share row six with Button, while Perez lines up on the outside of Jean-Eric Vergne, the Frenchman ruing running wide at Becketts and compromising what would likely have been a top ten lap. With Toro Rosso
team-mate Daniel Ricciardo making the cut, it was a costly error from Vergne.
The other two casualties of the 15-minute session were, as expected based on Q1 performance, Nico Hulkenberg
and Pastor Maldonado, with the German snatching the inside of row eight with his last lap of the day.
At the front, Red Bull
turned the tables on Mercedes, with Sebastian Vettel
and Mark Webber
recording the two fastest times to set up an intriguing pole battle with Lewis Hamilton
and Nico Rosberg.