Conditions deteriorated for Q2, which was stopped with a red flag with with just under two minutes left to go when Massa took turn three wrong and broadsided into the tire wall. At that stage Webber was fastest at 1:28.145 by fractions from Vettel, with Bottas, Rosberg, Alonso, Raikkonen, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, Hamilton, McLaren’s Sergio Perez and Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg temporarily through to Q3.
When the session was restarted at 13.47 there was a fight not unlike the first lap of a race as everyone tried to make it back round in time to record single flying laps. Hamilton did it best, jumping to first place with 1:27.649, as Vergne came up to a great fifth and Sutil to ninth.
Hulkenberg fell to 11th for Sauber, with Perez 12th, Pastor Maldonado 13th, Jenson Button 14th, then Esteban Gutierrez in the second Sauber and Massa.
So it all came down to Q3, as the conditions showed little sign of significant improvement. Intermediates remained the order of the day. In the end it all came down to what each driver managed in their first runs, as they never got the tire temperatures in the crucial final sector once they had switched to new intermediates for their second.
That left Vettel fastest with 1:25.425, but just as it seemed Hamilton was on course to beat that the Englishman missed the turn-in to the final corner and the time went away, leaving him second on 1:25.512. Bottas’s excellent 1:25.897s left him third, with Rosberg fourth.
Webber went autocrossing on his first flyer and thus had to be content with fifth place, while Alonso also had some adventures and was only sixth.
Vergne did an excellent job for Toro Rosso to take seventh, and he shares row four with Sutil for Force India.