Despite the best efforts of the weather gods, there were few major surprises in the first phase of qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix, but there was continued bad news for Honda - and good news for Force India.
In an ever-changing session, which began in the wake of another downpour at Monza and ended with most drives finding time on a drying surface, both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello eventually missed the cut to progress into phase two, the Briton doomed to start on the very back row alongside Force India's Adrian Sutil Such was the rotation of times, Sutil had been as high as third earlier in the 20-minute session....
Barrichello was dumped back into the drop zone at the last gasp, having twice escaped in the closing moment, but his 'executioner' provided a welcome boost for his team, as Giancarlo Fisichella jumped from 19th to twelfth, eventually ending up 13th as Force India made it through the opening phase for the first time this season.
With one of the expected first phase victims having escaped, Nelson Piquet Jr and Kazuki Nakajima were the ones to fall through the trapdoor, the Brazilian unable to find the tenths he needed on his last couple of laps.
The drop zone could easily have featured some bigger names as both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa and Red Bull's Mark Webber spent time in the dungeon, while Fernando Alonso only made it to safety in the final few minutes, ironically dumping his own team-mate into trouble.
Heikki Kovalainen proved to be fastest of all in the session, having displaced the impressive Timo Glock around the midway point. The Finn eventually lowered the benchmark to 1min 35.214secs, with McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton only getting to within a handful of tenths right at the end. Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Massa completed the top five, with Raikkonen eleventh and Alonso 14th. David Coulthard was the last man to make the cut.