Vettel leads Red Bull front row in Turkey

Sebastian Vettel maintains his perfect record in qualifying this season with his fourth successive pole position at the Istanbul Park circuit.

Despite crashing his Red Bull RB7 against the barrier in Friday’s wet practice session after running over a kerb exiting the challenging Turn 8, the world championship leader recovered from a lack of dry running to take a dominant pole position with just a single flying lap.

Vettel’s time of one minute, 25.049 seconds was impressive. Full commitment around the demanding 3.317-mile circuit, with just a small hint of lift off the throttle in Turn 8 and the use of KERS to power through to the top slot.

His team-mate Mark Webber completed an all-Red Bull Racing front row, four tenths of a second slower than Vettel, with the team so confident of its superiority that the pair went for just one early run in Q3 then sat in the pits watching their rivals fail to beat them.

Nico Rosberg underlined Mercedes GP’s improvement by taking an excellent third, but disappointment for team-mate Michael Schumacher, as he could not maintain his practice form and was only eighth.

The McLaren pair of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button will start in fourth and sixth respectively, split by Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari driver continuing to take fifth in every qualifying session this season.

Renault’s Vitaly Petrov lines up seventh on the grid, two positions ahead of team-mate Nick Heidfeld. As for Felipe Massa, a three times winner of the Turkish Grand Prix, he will start in tenth after deciding not to run in Q3 following an engine change in final practice.

Rubens Barrichello gave Williams its best qualifying position in a difficult season so far with P11 – although he had been on course for a Q3 slot until Heidfeld edged ahead by 0.024 seconds in the final moments of Q2. Team-mate Pastor Maldonado was P14, with the Force Indias between them. Adrian Sutil out-qualifying Paul di Resta for the first time this season.

Kamui Kobayashi was the only driver unable to record a lap time, as his Sauber was cutting out on the back straight. He was forced to withdraw from Q1 with a fuel pump problem. His team-mate Sergio Perez took P15 ahead of the Toro Rossos.

Team Lotus was unable to progress into Q2. But despite that setback Heikki Kovalainen was within a respectable half-second of the cut off point and still managed to edge ahead of his team-mate Jarno Trulli by 0.9 seconds.

As for the battle at the rear end of the grid, Tonio Liuzzi impressively qualified his Hispania in-between the pair of Virgin Racing. For Jerome D’Ambrosio, who recorded a time to qualify in P20, he will drop further back serving his five-place grid penalty for a yellow flag infringement in practice.

Qualifying positions from Istanbul:

1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m25.049s
2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m25.454s
3.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m25.574s
4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m25.595s
5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m25.851s
6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m25.982s
7.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m26.296s
8.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m26.646s
9.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m26.659s
10.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              No time
11.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m26.764s
12.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m27.027s
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m27.145s
14.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m27.236s
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m27.244s
16.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m27.255s
17.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m27.572s
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m28.780s
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m31.119s
20.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m30.692s
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m30.813s
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m31.564s
23.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       No time
24.  Jerome D’Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m30.445s*

107% time: 1m33.103s

*Five-place grid penalty for a yellow flag infringement

10 thoughts to “Vettel leads Red Bull front row in Turkey”

  1. World championship leader Sebastian Vettel has commented that he was glad to take the gamble to do only a single lap run in Q3 in order to save a set of fresh Pirellis for Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix. has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel admitted it was ‘strange’ to complete just one run during the final segment of qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver secured his fourth pole position of the season, despite deciding to skip his final run in order to save tyres for the race tomorrow.

    The decision meant Vettel got out of his car before the end of the session, watching his rivals trying to beat his time.

    They failed, however, and the world champion took another comfortable pole position.

    Vettel said he was happy to keep a set of tyres for tomorrow, but admitted the feeling of not running again was odd.

    “I am very happy with the result. We did not have a trouble-free morning, so we had a bit to catch up. I like the track so that helps and it was nice to see that without that many laps I was able to come back and find the rhythm.

    “It was funny because Mark and myself decided to skip the second run. It is strange the feeling. The others are on track and you know they can beat you.

    “You can just watch and there is nothing you can do. It is good to save a set of tyres but it is an odd feeling. I’m very happy.”

    He added: “Of course we talked about it before qualifying, we talked about what can happen, you never know, you don’t know how quicker the others will be, how much fuels the others have on board.

    “We saw in the last race and in the other races, we see this year the races have changed and important to handle the tyre situation, for both of us after the first run we had the feeling that we might be safe but you never know, you do that again until the day arrived, and other people prove you wrong.

    “In the end you never know, if it works you are a hero if it doesn’t you are not.”

    Vettel claimed things were still not perfect for him after missing on Friday running following his crash.

    “It not 100% smooth, still things we have to improve and do better, but sitting here now I am happy and pleased after the bad shunt yesterday and the work load I managed to give to all the mechanics, not just mine, it was a pretty big hit and a lot to repair. They did a very good job and I had a fantastic car today.”

  2. For team-mate Mark Webber, the Australian was feeling quite relaxed compared to Sebastian’s pace in qualifying. has the details.

    Mark Webber said he was not concerned that Sebastian Vettel was able to beat him to Turkish Grand Prix pole position despite missing the majority of practice.

    Webber was expected to be Red Bull’s main contender in qualifying given that Vettel had not run at Istanbul Park in the dry until this morning following his heavy crash on Friday morning.

    But in the event Vettel continued his run of 2011 pole positions, while Webber was 0.4 seconds adrift in second.

    “Seb did a great job today,” said Webber. “We know he runs great pace on Saturday afternoon, and he has done a good job.

    “Yes, I would like to be a bit closer, but we know these cars are very, very complex and you need everything right to get the laps done.

    “This is the ultimate result for the team.”

    Last year the Turkish Grand Prix was the scene of Webber and Vettel’s infamous intra-team collision while fighting for victory, but the Australian said the chance of a repeat was very slim.

    “Last year in this room there was a different atmosphere,” he said. “It wasn’t an ideal race – there was a bit of momentum coming in with different stories, we had a crash and it happens in motor racing. It is rare between team-mates.

    “It is more straightforward these days, but DRS and things like that make it less intense in some ways even though you do so much.

    “We both learned a lot from last year in not just that situation but some other situations. So at certain stages tomorrow if we are racing each other – and we don’t know sitting here how races will unfold, but there might be times we are close – we are not going to repeat what we did last year.

    “Wisdom helps you and DRS and things like that have changed the racing.”

  3. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he is confident there will be no repeat of the contact his drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber made in last year’s grand prix, in spite of the duo locking out the front row for tomorrow’s race at Istanbul Park.

    Vettel, who took pole for tomorrow’s race by 0.4s, and Webber collided in last year’s race while fighting for the lead, and the incident proved one of the catalysts for a highly tense rivalry between the pair during their battle for the 2010 title.

    But Horner told the BBC that he believed both drivers had learned from the accident and added that he fully expected them to be able to race cleanly on Sunday should they find themselves fighting for the same position.

    Asked what instructions he will give his drivers before the race, Horner replied: “Exactly the same as the other 18 races on the calendar, they know what happened last year, and they learned from that.

    “The races, strategically are a bit different these days, especially with the KERS and the DRS, and they are here to get the best result for the team and I am sure they will do the best job they can,” he added.

    Horner also paid tribute to Vettel for achieving his fourth consecutive pole position of the season, particularly in light of his accident during Friday practice which effectively cost the German a day’s running.

    “Sebastian and Mark elected not to run the last set of options to take them in to the race tomorrow was quite a brave call,” said Horner. “It was such a great performance especially how he had such a difficult day yesterday, to then come back with such a strong performance today was a great job.”


  4. Taking third position on the grid is Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg. This was an excellent performance from the team and driver. Nico Rosberg expresses his delight with the team’s progress this season with providing the details below.

    Nico Rosberg says he is delighted with the progress made by his Mercedes team after securing third place on the grid ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix.

    The German, who enjoyed a strong outing in the previous race in China, kept his momentum going in today’s qualifying to put on his best performance of the season.

    “I am happy for sure,” said Rosberg. “It is really nice to see the progress we are making. When you see where we were four races ago, we are learning from mistakes we made and making most of car we have.

    “That is really good and the team have been doing a good job there, but we are still not where we wanted to be, so every race we continue to keep on pushing.”

    Rosberg is also confident he will overtake Mark Webber, starting from second, right at the start.

    “I am going to have a stunning start. I am on clean side of grid so I will go straight past Mark and then we will see,” he said.

    He conceded Red Bull still looked stronger in race terms, but he is not ruling out anything on Sunday.

    “For sure they are quicker at the moment, also in the race, so I will take it as it comes. Strategy wise we are strong, another positive is that I have a new option left as I didn’t use it in Q3. I am confident we can have a good race, how good it will be I will just have to wait and see.”

    Team boss Ross Brawn was equally delighted with the progress made by his squad.

    “Interesting business Formula 1 because we haven’t made any dramatic changes to the car, we’ve just got it working properly,” he told the BBC. “So hopefully we can start bringing some improvements that do work now. But great effort by everybody, really pleased.”

  5. As for his Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion was left mystified by a lack of pace in the all-important qualifying session. His practice form was impressive but when it counted, he could only get the eighth fastest time. has the story.

    Michael Schumacher admitted that he was hugely disappointed to qualify only eighth on the grid for the Turkish Grand Prix, having shown strong pace in the final practice session on Saturday morning.

    The Mercedes driver ended up recording a lap more than a second slower than that of his team-mate Nico Rosberg in Q3 – who starts from third on the grid – having matched Sebastian Vettel’s pace during P3.

    Schumacher said afterwards that he was mystified as to where the laptime had gone during qualifying.

    “I’m not happy at all, being so far off, that’s a bit unusual,” he told the BBC. “It didn’t really work out at all. The grip for whatever reason wasn’t there compared to what I had this morning.

    “I struggled already in Q2. The track certainly was better than it was this morning, but we couldn’t reproduce what we did this morning. So, we need to understand what’s going on.

    “The more I pushed, the more things went wrong, and in the end there was no grip left.”

  6. The McLaren drivers feel they can still be a factor in the fight for Turkish Grand Prix victory from fourth and sixth on the grid, though Lewis Hamilton admitted he was concerned Red Bull could get away if he gets caught up in battle with the improved Mercedes.

    Nico Rosberg will start third on the grid in the best Mercedes, with the Red Bulls sharing the front row, and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari splitting the McLarens.

    “Mercedes GP and Ferrari have picked up their pace, and it might be hard to overtake the Mercedes GP because they’re very fast on the straights; so if it pans out like that, the Red Bulls could edge away from us,” said Hamilton.

    “We don’t have an extra set of [unused] tyres, but you never know what the weather will do tomorrow. We’re definitely in the fight and I’ll be pushing all the way – just as we did last year.

    “So I’ll try to get a good start tomorrow – fingers crossed we can gain some places that way. I’m looking forward to driving a strong grand prix – it’s a long race here and there should be opportunities to overtake.”

    Button pointed out that grid position has had little to do with results in many cases this year, though he felt in retrospect he might have been better off being conservative in Q3 and saving more tyres for the race.

    “Sixth position isn’t great, but we can still do well: Mark Webber had a good race from 18th in China, so we can definitely have a good race from sixth,” said Button.

    “Maybe I should have just done a single run for Q3 because my second run wasn’t any faster than my first – and you tend to lose time if you push these tyres too hard. But to be honest I couldn’t get a really good balance in qualifying.”

    Team boss Martin Whitmarsh suggested McLaren had the potential to get among the Red Bulls in qualifying had the drivers got the maximum out of the car.

    “It’s very tight, very competitive, at the sharp end of the grid this year – and it’s worth noting that, had Lewis managed to string together his three best sector times in a single lap, he’d have been second-quickest As things turned out, he was fourth-quickest, and Jenson was sixth-quickest, but they’re both fantastic racers and they’ll approach tomorrow’s race with all the controlled aggression that we’ve come to expect from them over the years,” Whitmarsh said.


  7. Fernando Alonso says he can draw positives from qualifying fifth for the Turkish Grand Prix – the same position he has started every grand prix from so far this season.

    The double world champion believes that Ferrari has decreased the performance gap to Red Bull, but admitted that there was still work to be done before he can fight for wins.

    “It was okay,” he told the BBC. “I am still far away from pole position – 0.8s – but then in China we were 1.4s so evidently we have made a step forward with the car with the new components. But we need to keep working in this direction and we need to be closer,” he added, “but we are happy with this, we have maximised the potential again.”

    Alonso also reckons that a podium finish is not out of the question in Sunday’s race, pointing out that Ferrari has narrowly missed out on a top-three finish in the last two races.

    “We will see tomorrow, the podium possibility is still there,” said Alonso. “In Malaysia we were very close until we touched with Lewis and damaged the front wing, in China Felipe was very close as well so hopefully in Turkey we can do it.”


  8. Williams technical director Sam Michael said the team could still take great encouragement from Turkish Grand Prix qualifying even though it did not quite achieve its goal of a Q3 spot.

    Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado took 11th and 14th on the grid, the team’s best combined qualifying effort of the year so far, and the Brazilian was within 0.024 seconds of reaching the top 10 shoot-out.

    Michael was buoyed by that performance given that the team had had to revert to an older-spec rear wing and Maldonado was without KERS.

    “We’re heading in the right direction, thanks to a lot of hard work in the factory,” Michael said. “Rubens starts the race in P11, and with new tyres, and Pastor in P14.

    “The day wasn’t without issue, however, as we had to revert to the standard rear wing on both cars after signs of aerodynamic separation on the new version in practice. That cost us some top speed.

    “In addition, Pastor’s KERS wasn’t working, which lost him a couple of places on the grid.

    “These are not excuses but rather that with these issues resolved, we have cause for optimism. Our target now is to get both cars in the points.”

    Both drivers were also upbeat considering Williams’s struggles so far in 2011.

    “After all the work we have done this weekend at the factory and trackside, I have to always put a great lap together in qualifying and I’m very happy with my last lap,” said Barrichello.

    “Unfortunately though, we just ended up outside the top 10, which is not that penalising with the tyre situation. We also weren’t running the new rear wing which was one of our upgrades for this race so it was a good qualifying session for us to finish 11th despite that.”

    Maldonado added: “That’s the happiest I’ve felt after a qualifying session this season. The new parts the team have worked really hard to deliver to this race have definitely improved the car. It feels quicker and easier to drive so our efforts have paid off.

    “Because of a problem, I haven’t run KERS all weekend. If it was working in qualifying, we would have been three tenths quicker.”


  9. Force India driver Paul di Resta has been reprimanded after qualifying at the Istanbul Park circuit. has the details.

    Paul di Resta has been reprimanded for having missed a weighbridge call during qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.

    The Force India driver was summoned by the stewards after he failed to stop at the weighbridge following the end of Q2.

    Di Resta, who qualified in 13th position, has escaped a penalty though, as his view of the light that forces him to stop was hampered by a car running in front of him.

    “It was nothing other than that I was very close to one of the Toro Rossos, I didn’t see the light, I reacted to somebody’s hand and there was a bit of confusion as to whether it was for the car in front or for me, and you’re running at 100km/h,” he said.

    “So I radioed in straight away to the team and I said ‘I’m not sure if I missed that or it was for the other car.’

    “We immediately offered to the FIA to take the car in to weigh it, and now it’s all clear, although I was given a reprimand. It still means something, but when you’re in the car doing 100k and you’re that close to the car in front, it wasn’t very visible.

    “I’ve never been stopped at the weighbridge before so I don’t know what the procedure is.”

    He admitted he was relieved not to get a penalty.

    “Yeah, I think it would have been a bit harsh if that had happened because genuinely it was nothing other than I didn’t see anything.”

    The stewards have also ruled that Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi will be allowed to take part in the race despite failing to set a time in qualifying.

  10. Not a comment on today’s qualifying but an observation on the aftermath of Vettel’s crash in FP1 yesterday. His front wing was ripped from the car at the base of the vertical stays and broke into several pieces, some of which were carried back to the pits by the RB mechanics. Cabelling can clearly be seen dangling from both the broken wing and the vertical stays. Pure speculation of course , but could this be a clue to the mystery of how the RB front wings can flex markedly on track yet passes all FIA tests applied to it? Remember that unlike last year , the front wings are no longer adjustable from the cockpit ( according to David Coulthard ). Assuming that these are electric cabling (they don’t look substantial enough to be for a mechanical purpose, and if they are constructional in nature, why would they be preferable to using solid carbon fibre?) , why are they still on the car at all , nevermind right at the very front, 4 races into the season?
    Has Adrian Newey discovered a way of incorporating a type of carbon fibre material in the front wing which can have it’s torsional rigidity altered through the application of a small electric current?
    In other words when the car is driven on track with it’s electric systems running, the wing has a lower rigidity and thus flexes downwards under load. Back in Parc Ferme, presumably any tests applied to the bodywork measurements would be done with the engine and electrics OFF; the wing now reverts to a stiffer state and passes all the loading tests.

    Is this Plausible?

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