Potential German Grand Prix polesitter Nico Rosberg will not even take part in the final phase of qualifying for his home event after an error of judgement left him sitting in the garage as he slipped down the timesheet.

Expecting to be in the battle for top spot with Red Bull in the final phase, Mercedes played the waiting game, saving tyres for raceday, but failed to spot Rosberg's slide. When Kimi Raikkonen posted a late lap to haul himself from eleventh to second, and other benefited from an improvement in track conditions that Mercedes also failed to take into account, the Silverstone race winner was out.

Rosberg joins Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez, Esteban Gutierrez, Adrian Sutil and Jean-Eric Vergne in the bottom six of phase two, although nearly everyone featured in the top ten at some point during the 15 minutes. di Resta failed to improve on eleventh spot with his final effort and was subsequently demoted by improvements from Nico Hulkenberg and Raikkonen, while Gutierrez and Sutil also failed to move up the order before taking the chequered flag.

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The main beneficiary of Mercedes' error was Jenson Button, who sneaked McLaren into the pole position shoot-out, while Hulkenberg's ninth spot is also a rare bright spot for Sauber.

Felipe Massa again posted a late lap to top the times, and will head Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo into the final session.