Turkish GP - Third practice
The final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix saw Felipe Massa set the pace in his Ferrari with the Brazilian dominating much of the hour long session. Significantly, Massa’s best time of 1:27.983s came on his second
long stint on the harder prime tyre while those close behind all used the softer option tyre late in the session to close the gap.
Massa’s second run on the hard tyre was particularly impressive as lap after lap he found time, especially in the long middle sector, and that will bode well for Sunday’s race where he chased his fourth straight victory at the Istanbul Park circuit. Jarno Trulli
was a solid top ten runner for much of the session in his Toyota before a flying lap on the soft tyre at the end of the session. The final run moved Trulli second fastest, just 0.039s off the ultimate pace.
Team-mate Timo Glock is not having such a good weekend as he ran down in 18th ahead of his final run. The German driver, like most of his rivals, used a set of softer tyres to vault third fastest just ahead of the chequered flag. Toyota seems stronger than Monaco, but it would be a surprise to see them challenge for the pole position.
Kazuki Nakajima was another driver on the march up the timesheets as the chequered flag flew as he moved fourth fastest in his Williams Toyota. Undoubtedly that was a very light fuel load on the FW31 to simulate the first and second round of qualifying rather than the third.
Robert Kubica was an encouraging fifth best in the leading BMW Sauber. With the new – and much anticipated – aero package on the F1.09, Kubica and the team are targeting a top ten start following their dismal performance in Monaco.
The Brawn Mercedes duo of Rubens Barrichello
and Jenson Button
were both unhappy with the balance of the car on Friday.
Today both seemed to make gains as they posted the sixth and seventh best times and they will undoubtedly be in the battle for the pole position with Felipe Massa.
Nico Rosberg was eighth best in the second Williams Toyota ahead of Kimi Raikkonen
in the second Ferrari. So far this weekend, the 2007 champion has trailed his team-mate and this morning was no exception.
After losing most of the Friday afternoon session due to an engine problem, Sebastian Vettel was back on track in his Red Bull Renault as he recorded the tenth best time. Chasing the Brawn team in the championship, Vettel needs to pick up the pace for qualifying.
Nelson Piquet led the Renault team this morning with the 11th best time while Fernando Alonso
was just 19th in the sister R29. The double world champion will be aiming for a top ten start but his pace in this session will be a concern for the team at 1.2 seconds off the pace.
Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen were 12th and 15th respectively for McLaren Mercedes with Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld
slotting in between for Red Bull and BMW Sauber. Towards the back, it was the usual suspects with Adrian Sutil 16th in his Force India Mercedes ahead of the Toro Rosso pairing of Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastien Buemi. With Alonso 19th, Giancarlo Fisichella
brought up the bottom of the timesheets in the second Force India.