Neither Red Bull Racing entry made it through the second phase of qualifying at the Brazilian Grand Prix, leaving Mark Webber and David Coulthard once again playing second fiddle to the Toro Rosso duo of Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais. The biggest name to miss out, however, was one Robert Kubica....
Webber and Coulthard - the latter running a one-off white livery this weekend - found themselves in the drop zone well before the halfway mark, but were then unable to summon up enough speed to haul themselves back into the top ten. Vettel and Bourdais, by contrast, ended the 15-minute session in second and eighth respectively, the German vaulting up behind pacesetter Heikki Kovalainen just before Bourdais escaped the drop zone.
The Frenchman's move dumped Nelson Piquet Jr into the bottom five, and the Brazilian also found the pull of elimination too strong to resist, joining Webber, Kubica - who again seems at odds with his BMW Sauber this weekend - Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello in missing the cut.
Where Kubica's second effort proved good enough only to keep him in 13th spot, team-mate Nick Heidfeld ensured his survival by moving into sixth spot, and the German felt comfortable enough to abandon his final flying lap at the end of the session.
Kovalainen, meanwhile, showed that he has the potential to affect the title fight on Sunday by setting the pace with the quickest lap of the weekend so far, a 1min 11.768secs effort that left him just under a tenth clear of Vettel. McLaren team-mate, and points leader, Lewis Hamilton was third fastest, one ahead of title rival Felipe Massa, with Timo Glock again featuring in the top five.
Kimi Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Bourdais, Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli will be the other runners disputing pole position in the final qualifying session of the season.