Turkish GP - Qualifying
Sebastian Vettel has made a habit of showing well in qualifying with the Red Bull Renault team only for it to become apparent a few hours following the session that he opted to run less fuel than his rivals. Today the German star aced the pole position
for the Turkish Grand Prix by just over a tenth of a second from championship leader Jenson Button
Vettel proved rapid in all three qualifying sessions and it is clear that the RB5 is very strong at Istanbul Park, but we will have to wait until the FIA publish the weights of the top ten runners to understand how far into Sunday’s 58 lap Grand Prix the drivers will be able to run ahead of the first fuel and tyre stop.
Either way, Vettel put in an impressive lap on the softer option tyre to claim the pole as the chequered flag flew, demoting Button to second in the all-conquering Brawn Mercedes. Rubens Barrichello
completed just one long run on the harder tyre in the final round of qualifying compared to the two runs of his rivals. The Brazilian veteran lines up a strong third in the second Brawn.
Mark Webber made an error at turn eight on his first run and was forced to abandon the lap. The Red Bull driver regrouped and with a new set of tyres was able to put in a solid lap to line up alongside Barrichello on the second row of the grid and to make the top four in the championship the fastest four in qualifying.
Following the dismal showing in Monte Carlo, Toyota are back in contention in Turkey, at least in the hands of Jarno Trulli
. The Italian veteran lines up a solid fifth as the team look to defend its third position in the championship from Ferrari on Sunday afternoon.
After dominating the morning practice session with Felipe Massa, Ferrari will however be disappointed to see Kimi Raikkonen
sixth on the grid ahead of Massa in seventh. The Brazilian had looked very strong ahead of qualifying but lapping half a second off the ultimate pace, his chances of a fourth straight win in Turkey now seem a little remote - unless all of the front runners have gone very light on fuel. Fernando Alonso
starts eighth in the leading Renault despite a half spin at turn eight. The team has opted not to run KERS again this weekend which is a surprise as the Anglo-French team really have little to lose by pushing on with development of the technology.
Nico Rosberg made the final round of qualifying again in his Williams Toyota and starts ninth ahead Robert Kubica in the leading BMW Sauber. Team-mate Nick Heidfeld
missed out on a top ten start by less than a tenth of a second and starts 11th in the second F1.09 ahead of Williams' Kazuki Nakajima who was busy exploring the limits of adhesion through the daunting turn eight left-hander.
Timo Glock has struggled all weekend in the second Toyota and was a full half second off the pace of team-mate Jarno Trulli
in the second round of qualifying. Glock lines up a disappointing 13th.
As expected, the Istanbul circuit certainly does not suit the McLaren Mercedes MP4-24. Heikki Kovalainen made it into the second round of qualifying but did not have the pace to do any better than 14th. Adrian Sutil meanwhile put in a solid performance in his Mercedes-powered Force India to make it into Q2 and the German racer lines up 15th ahead of the second McLaren...
Lewis Hamilton had a dismal qualifying session in the second McLaren as he slithered around and was eliminated at the very first hurdle. The rear end of the MP4-24 proved unstable while he also struggled to slow the car into turn one with the unloaded left front locking up time after time. The defending champion faces a long Sunday afternoon once again.
Nelson Piquet had a poor qualifying run in the second Renault with a half spin at turn eight early in the session followed by a terminal trip into the gravel trap at turn three as the chequered flag flew. He lines up 17th claiming that his R29 suffered from a braking issue.
Toro Rosso Ferrari has struggled all weekend but Sebastien Buemi at least managed to out-qualify the second Force India of Giancarlo Fisichella
, as well as his underperforming STR team-mate Sebastien Bourdais who brings up the rear of the grid.