Jenson Button will have to come from the rear end of the grid if he is to score points in his home grand prix, having again succumbed early in the three-part timed session.

The Honda driver dropped into the bottom six midway through the session and was unable to improve on his final flying run, an effort compromised by friend and rival Anthony Davidson's curious spin in the stadium section. Button was not the highest profile casualty, however, for Nico Rosberg found himself caught in the drop zone net right at the end of the 15-minute session.

The Williams driver had looked promising in morning practice, but could not put a lap together when it mattered and, despite a minor improvement on his last run with a sick-sounding car, was vulnerable to quicker laps from others, eventually being pushed back to 17th.

Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello was one of those to benefit at Rosberg's expense, claiming 16th spot, leaving the two Super Aguris and Spykers to join Button and Rosberg in the bottom six.

Fernando Alonso lifted the Ferrari monopoly on recent sessions by topping the times in Q1, leading morning pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen by four-tenths of a second. Crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest, with Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica sandwiching the McLaren.



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