Home hero Alonso misses Q2 cut.
Fernando Alonso was the biggest name casualty after the second phase of qualifying for the European Grand Prix maintained the feeling that there would be a surprise look to the grid in Valencia.
The Spaniard - the focus of attention for the sizeable crowd at the harbour-side circuit - blew his chances of a last-minute escape from the bottom five by running over the kerbs exiting the swing bridge section, and had to settle for a disappointing twelfth on the grid.
The double world champion was joined in making a Q2 exit by Renault team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr, who also failed to improve on his last effort, while Mark Webber, in the Renault-powered Red Bull, found time but not enough to rise above an eventual 14th. Timo Glock and Kazuki Nakajima completed those bowing out, but only after Nick Heidfeld had confounded the experts by finding a chunk of time when others were failing to improve.
The German jumped up to third, behind Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa, while Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica rounded out the top five. The unexpected look to the pole position shoot-out, however, also sees Nico Rosberg and Sebastien Bourdais in the mix, along with Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen.
And rain continues to threaten....