Webber claims third consecutive pole position

Red Bull Racing maintain their qualifying form this season with yet another pole position for Mark Webber at the Istanbul Park circuit.

The championship leader secured his third consecutive pole after fending off a strong challenge from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. The sector times between the RB6 and MP4-25 is very close and with a margin of 0.138 seconds to take the top slot, it showcase that the McLaren is beginning to reduce the performance gap over the faster Red Bull in qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel was again the slower Red Bull in qualifying and took third in his Randy Mandy – the new name for his chassis! Jenson Button was fourth for McLaren.

As for Ferrari, competing in their 800th grand prix, the qualifying session proved to be disastrous for the two drivers. Fernando Alonso will start the Turkish Grand Prix in a disappointing P12 after making a mistake under braking into Turn 12, loosing the back end on the slippery white line. Team-mate Felipe Massa at least reached Q3 but could only managed eighth around seven tenths of a second slower over Mark Webber.

Despite spinning off at the challenging Turn 8 and getting stuck in the gravel at the end of Q3, Michael Schumacher outqualified Nico Rosberg as the Silver Arrows shared row three.

Renault’s Robert Kubica took seventh while team-mate Vitaly Petrov made his first Q3 appearance with ninth.

And completing the top ten is Kamui Kobayashi for Sauber, although the Japanese used up his share of Bridgestone tyres in Q2 trying to get through and was left on the sidelines during the main shoot-out event.

Force India’s Adrian Sutil missed out on the top ten again as Kobayashi’s late jump into Q3 pushed him back to P11. While Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa couldn’t emulate his team-mate performance and will start in P13, ahead of the Toro Rossos and Williams – Sebastien Buemi, Rubens Barrichello, Jaime Alguersuari and Nico Hülkenberg respectively.

Meanwhile in division two, the battle of the new Formula One teams, it was Lotus who was again the fastest. Jarno Trulli lines up in P19 ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, with the Virgin of Timo Glock and the HRT of Bruno Senna next. Taking the last row of the grid is Lucas di Grassi and Karun Chandhok.

Qualifying times from Istanbul:

1.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:26.295
2.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:26.433
3.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:26.760
4.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:26.781
5.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:26.857
6.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:26.952
7.  Kubica         Renault                1:27.039
8.  Massa          Ferrari                1:27.082
9.  Petrov         Renault                1:27.430
10. Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:28.122
11. Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:27.525
12. Alonso         Ferrari                1:27.612
13. de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         1:27.879
14. Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:28.273
15. Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:28.392
16. Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:28.540
17. Hülkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:28.841
18. Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:28.958
19. Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:30.237
20. Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         1:30.519
21. Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:30.744
22. Senna          HRT-Cosworth           1:31.266
23. di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:31.989
24. Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth           1:32.060

7 thoughts to “Webber claims third consecutive pole position”

  1. Red Bull Racing maintain their qualifying form this season with seven poles. Read on Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel’s views on the session as taken from Autosport.com posted in full below:

    Mark Webber hailed Red Bull Racing’s string of pole positions after securing the team’s seventh top spot in a row this season in Turkey.

    It was also the Australian’s third consecutive pole and the fourth of the year as he kept his momentum going following his wins in Spain and Monaco.

    “It is a great record, it shows tremendous pace in the car and we have been to a lot of different venues now,” said Webber, leading the championship after two victories in a row.

    “We are still a quick team, that is a big feather in our cap. It is a real credential to the whole team that we can come to each track and be strong.

    “We have had a good run of it of late, and we need to get better on Sundays so we have done it in the last few races and that is what team’s focus will be on tomorrow.”

    Webber, who admitted things did not look promising in second practice yesterday, is confident that his race pace will be strong again.

    “I had a very, very poor long run in P2,” he said. “Normally my long runs have been fine this year, this is normally a strength for me, but it didn’t work that well in P2 on Friday but we got on top of it, and will do tomorrow. It will be an interesting race.”

    And the Australian also backed his team’s decision to remove the F-duct tested on Friday.

    “We went in with our eyes wide open. It is a special project to get right. McLaren got it right and fair play to them. We had more to lose than gain by taking risks. We are not fifth or sixth quickest, we are in the hunt, so let’s consolidate.

    “We don’t put stuff on car to go slower and we won’t start now.”

    Sebastian Vettel was left mystified by the brake problems he suffered during the final qualifying segment in Turkey.

    The Red Bull driver was unable to match the pace of team-mate Mark Webber, having to settle for third position while the Australian was again on pole.

    Vettel, quickest in the first two segments of qualifying, said he was unable to brake properly in Q3, something he reckons cost him a lot of time.

    “The first lap was brilliant up until Turn 12 and under braking I slightly locked the front, but that was no issue. Then it was weird because the front kept locking and never came back,” Vettel said.

    “After Turn 12 and Turn 13 the wheel turned again, and then the same again, I locked the inside wheel easily and the car didn’t stop, I went straight and lost a bit of time. Otherwise it should easily have been a lot quicker. It is obviously very strange.”

    He insisted he was still happy to be starting from the clean side of the track.

    “I’m happy to be third, and lucky to not be fourth – it is a long race tomorrow but with this year’s regulations and no more fuel pitstops it is difficult to make up places.”

    Vettel also reckons there are no reasons to be downcast despite having being outqualified by Webber in the last three events.

    “If you look at all the races, I think we have always qualified in the top three so far, which is not too bad,” added the German.

    “If you take the last two races in particular, Barcelona and Monaco, I think it is difficult to say looking back how much we lost because of the the chassis or other things going on we didn’t want to.

    “I am not the type of guy who says the car is broken and that is it. I always try to do better. If you look at today, Q1/Q2 was quick enough and in Q3 we lost it.”

  2. Double world champion Fernando Alonso will start the Turkish Grand Prix down in P12 and even though the Scuderia is taking part in their 800th Grand Prix, this qualifying result was not ideal for the Spaniard. Autosport.com has the story.

    Fernando Alonso admitted he was surprised by his lack of pace after failing to reach the top ten in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.

    The Ferrari driver missed the cut to go into Q3 and will start from a disappointing 12th position.

    Alonso said he did not expect to be so slow, despite his struggles in the first qualifying segment.

    “I don’t know [what happened]. I didn’t think we were so slow,” Alonso told Spanish television.

    “We struggled in Q1, ninth and tenth, and then in Q2 we couldn’t improve the time by much and we were out. By a tenth, but that’s the way it is. We have to improve and we know it.”

    The Spaniard conceded he is facing a difficult race tomorrow, especially as he is starting from the dirty side of the track, which makes a big difference in Turkey.

    “We’ve been practising starts from the clean and the dirty side and saw there’s a difference of one position when you start from the dirty side,” he said.

    “When I crossed the line they told me I was 11th so I thought tomorrow at the start I would gain places, but from 12th I may even lose some positions, so it’s going to be difficult.

    “Let’s hope we can improve and pick up as many points as possible tomorrow.”

  3. Despite missing out on pole position by 0.138 seconds both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button believes the McLaren is slowly gaining on Red Bull Racing in terms of raw speed. Read the Autosport.com story in full below:

    Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were content with how close McLaren had got to Red Bull Racing’s pace in Turkish Grand Prix qualifying, even though they were unable to stop Red Bull’s run of poles.

    The two most recent world champions will start second and fourth, with Red Bull’s Mark Webber on pole and Sebastian Vettel between the McLarens in third.

    “It feels great, these guys have been untouchable all year in terms of pure pace so it is a real boost for me and my team,” said Hamilton. “Knowing we have a good baseline pace, and our race pace is even better, it puts us in a strong position tomorrow. We will continue to push and have some new bits coming for the future.”

    He does not think Red Bull’s advantage will be as great in race conditions.

    “These guys are easily flat out through Turn 8 in qualifying,” said Hamilton, “they pull out four tenths from us in that corner, but with full fuel we will be a little bit closer. But it is a point where you can degrade tyres quickly if you don’t treat them well, but I hope we have good balance.”

    Hamilton said he was heading into tomorrow’s race not looking to defend from Vettel, but to attack Webber for victory.

    “We are in the best spot I have ever been to start the race,” he said. “If I can get close enough to Mark then without a doubt I will be taking the opportunity. We have to look after the tyres, and then see what happens.”

    Button felt he could have been closer to Hamilton had he not had to back off when Michael Schumacher spun off at Turn 8.

    “The last run was a bit frustrating. Being the last car on the circuit is sometimes a good thing because you get the cleanest track, but there’s obviously more chance of someone going off and Michael went off in front of me on my last lap and when there’s a yellow [flag] you’ve got to back out of it obviously,” Button told television crews.

    “I just came straight in because it wasn’t going to be quicker because of that. Wasn’t perfect, but it’s not bad to be P4 – on the dirty side of the grid – but we’ll see what we can do from there.

    “I think we are a lot closer to Red Bull than I expected this weekend, so it’s positive. My biggest problem has been Turn 8 – I think we’ve run the car too low. I wanted to keep it low for the rest of the circuit so I’m hitting the ground so much through there and that’s where my time loss is. It’s a risk we took, but even so I’m fourth on the grid so it’s not too bad.”

  4. In the battle between the new teams competing in Formula One this season, Lotus Racing is doing a good job in terms of performance in the qualifying session. Tony Fernandes, the boss of the Lotus team, is already dreaming of making further progress by making sure that both drivers go through into Q2 next time. Autosport.com has the details:

    Lotus boss Tony Fernandes says he is already dreaming of making it to Q2 after a promising performance by his team in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.

    Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen qualified in 19th and 20th positions, but Fernandes was upbeat about the gap to the leading teams.

    And the team boss reckons there is still half a second to extract from the car this season.

    “All in all today’s been another good day and it proves to me that our future is very bright,” said Fernandes. “To be honest I was starting to dream about Q2, and while we may still be a little bit off that we’re clearly getting closer and closer, and thinking back to where we started, that’s incredible.

    “We need to work on giving Jarno more confidence in the car, and perhaps today we could have got more from Heikki’s tyres, but I think there’s still more to come from the 2010 car – maybe even another 0.5 seconds.

    “Tomorrow will be all about getting two cars home, and I know our team has the experience and strength to do that.”

    He also praised the progress made by the team since the start of the season.

    “Today we were just 3.2 seconds off the pace of the Red Bulls in Q1 and if you cast your mind back 10 short weeks to Bahrain you can see just how far we’ve come,” he added.

    “There we were over five seconds away from the outright Q1 pace and anyone in the sport will tell you what an achievement it is to find nearly two seconds in just seven races.

    “We were also just 2.4 seconds off Ferrari, celebrating their 800th race in Turkey, which is pretty spectacular for a team who are only seven races old – I think that shows to all those who expressed doubts about our participation that they were wrong.”

  5. As for Ferrari, the Italian team must improve dramatically following a poor showing in qualifying with Fernando Alonso in P12 and Felipe Massa doing no better with P8. Team boss Stefano Domenicali spoke to Autosport.com.

    Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says the Italian squad “must react immediately” following a poor qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.

    In the 800th Formula 1 GP for the Maranello outfit, Felipe Massa qualified in eighth position, with team-mate Fernando Alonso completing a disappointing day for team with the 12th fastest time.

    Domenicali admitted the Italian squad has to react quickly if it is to stand a chance in the championship.

    “These are certainly not the positions from which we would have liked to start the 800th grand prix in the history of the Scuderia, but we have to be honest and admit that today, our performance did not live up to our expectations,” Domenicali said.

    “We have to react immediately, starting from tomorrow’s race, when we will try to bring home as many points as possible. Then we must accelerate the development of our car to be competitive at every type of circuit.

    “Today, Felipe did the maximum, using all the potential available from his car and the tyres. Fernando did not have a perfect Q2 and missed the cut for the final part of qualifying: when the gaps are so close, it takes very little to be in or out.”

    Massa, winner in Istanbul three times, agreed that the team needed to raise its game quickly.

    “We were slower than our main rivals, so we will have to work very hard to get back to fighting for the top places and there can be no doubt about that,” he said. “Even if this is a track I like very much, today I could not do any better than eighth place.

    “The team and I cannot be pleased about it, but we have to react calmly and analyse the reasons that have led to this situation. Now we will concentrate on tomorrow’s race: it will be tough but we will try and do our very best.”

  6. The reason why Sebastian Vettel was unable to qualify higher than third was down to a broken rear roll-bar on his Randy Mandy. Autosport.com has the details.

    A broken rear roll-bar was the cause of Sebastian Vettel’s problems in final qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing has discovered.

    Vettel complained of a locking front left brake in the Q3 session – which cost him any chance of beating team-mate Mark Webber to the pole position.

    And although it was suspected the issue could be a repeat of the brake problems that he suffered in Spain, investigations by Red Bull Racing have uncovered another part of the car was to blame.

    Team principal Christian Horner said: “It looks like it was the roll-bar linkage. With no control over the roll of the car, as soon you turn in the car just rolls over. So he just locked the inside front wheel as it stuck up in the air.”

    Although parc ferme regulations mean that the team cannot touch the car tonight to make any change, Red Bull will be able to replace any broken parts on Sunday morning.

    Horner also said that the set of tyres Vettel will have to start on did not suffer any flat spots when he locked up.

    “We cannot see any damage,” he said.

  7. As for McLaren, this is the best opportunity to score a good result in the Turkish Grand Prix following an improvement in qualifying with Lewis Hamilton in second and Jenson Button in fourth. The team believes Red Bull Racing can be caught. Autosport.com has the full story,

    McLaren thinks that the world title fight remains wide open after an encouraging step forward in its performance against pace-setters Red Bull Racing in Turkey.

    Teams had been bracing themselves for a drubbing from Red Bull in Istanbul, after the team outqualified its nearest opposition by nearly one second in the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this month.

    But with Lewis Hamilton getting within two tenths of a second of pole position man Mark Webber in Turkey, hopes are high that McLaren’s title ambitions are well and truly alive.

    Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “It is still early in the season, and none of us here in Turkey, or the several hundred people we have back in Woking, have given up on that one.

    “We speak to everyone in the company quite regularly and, if you are making 0.2-0.3 seconds improvement per race, although it doesn’t sound enough, over four races that is one second.

    “Red Bull won’t stand still. They are a good organisation and we just have to make sure that we are improving at a faster rate than them. We will get closer. The championship is still wide open and we will see what we can do here, and then work on developing the car for successive races. It is too early to give up on the championship as far as I am concerned.”

    World champion Jenson Button admitted that he had never expected such a step forward from McLaren in Turkey – but thought it boded well for the rest of the campaign.

    “I am very impressed with the improvements that we have here,” he said. “I am actually a little surprised, in a positive way, about how close we are to the Red Bulls. And if it keeps going like this, it is looking very positive for the next few races.

    “Then, we have got to make sure that we have a perfect weekend in terms of reliability and our strategy. And, if we can do that, we have a good chance of challenging them over the next few races.”

    He added: “I think it is very early to start thinking about our ultimate goal which is to fight for the world championship and to win the world championship. We have to take it race by race, and look at what we can bring and make the best out of what we bring to that race.”

    Hamilton reckoned the start to the Turkish Grand Prix would be crucial to his ambitions of winning – although he also thought there would be a chance of drafting past Webber on the long straights at the end of the lap.

    “It is going to be very difficult – especially those first couple of laps,” he said. “Coming from qualifying with a light car and then going into the race with a heavy car, whether the tyres are warmed up or not the car is moving around more.

    “So I think for everyone who goes into Turn 8 for the first time, it will be a bit different. And I guess whoever goes through there smoothest or fastest without scrubbing any speed off will be quickest.

    “I think the Red Bulls have been flat-out through there all weekend, so they have a slight advantage, but if I was able to keep as close as possible behind him then I have a good shot out of Turn 8 all the way up to Turn 12. That will be the plan B. But plan one is to get past him at the start.”

    Whitmarsh said with his team having qualified second and fourth there was every reason to believe it was in the hunt for the win.

    “The best we can do is a 1-2. There are two very competitive Red Bulls, and they have done a good job, but we have two great racers.

    “If we are on the first and second row of the grid and we are not hoping to win, there is something wrong with us, isn’t there? I want us to win and I want us to have a 1-2, and that is not naive on any of our parts.

    “It is going to be tough to beat them, but they have had some fragility. I think the long run pace of both of these guys is good, they are excellent racers, and we have to go out there and give it all and see if we can win the race.”

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