Jenson Button's last ditch flying lap denied Vitantonio Liuzzi a place in the final round of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, confining the Italian to eleventh on the grid after holding a top ten spot throughout the 15 minutes.

Actually, make that ten minutes as the first third of the session saw a distinct lack of action, but Liuzzi appeared on course to repeat rookie team-mate Sebastian Vettel's feat of making the top ten before Button flashed across the line in the hitherto ill-handling Honda to claim the final spot. The Toro Rosso driver thus joined Vettel, Jarno Trulli, Anthony Davidson, Nico Rosberg and, perhaps most surprisingly, Heikki Kovalainen in missing the Q2 cut.

Kovalainen gave it everything on his final lap, but ran off the road at the final corner, costing himself vital tenths as he kept his foot in across the artificial turf beyond the kerbs, joining Renault team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella in an early bath.

With no Renault or Williams in the top ten, David Coulthard joined fellow Britons Button and Lewis Hamilton in Q3, with both BMW Saubers and Ralf Schumacher's Toyota also in the mix. The top three was again headed by Kimi Raikkonen, with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso some four-tenths adrift.

 

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