Unlike Bahrain, there were no surprise inclusions in the first cut from qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, although Michael Schumacher had to rely on the chequered flag to avoid making an ignominious early exit.

The German was stranded in the pits, and in 16th position on the timesheets, when the flag came down, ending the session immediately, regardless of where drivers were on track. Toro Rosso's Tonio Liuzzi was the man most likely to condemn the seven-time world champion to the drop, but found himself half a lap short of completing his mission.

That left the Italian as the fastest of the six men cut from part two of the new-look session, joining Toro Rosso team-mate Scott Speed - who had looked likely to survive until the very final stages - Midlands Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro and the Super Aguri duo Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide on the sidelines.

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If there was a surprise in the 15-minute session it was that Schumacher's team-mate Felipe Massa attempted to set a time, the Brazilian winding up fifth fastest, despite knowing that he will have to take a 20-place penalty for twice changing engines before the session. Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard will all also have to take a penalty, but Massa had indicated that he would not take part in qualifying in an attempt to save his latest engine and tyres for the race.

For the record, Juan Montoya posted the fastest time of the session, in 1min 34.536secs.