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