- Turkish Grand Prix - Qualifying
Webber takes pole as Hamilton brings fight to Red BullLaurence Edmondson May 29, 2010 « Vettel shows Red Bull's true potential in final practice | »
Mark Webber took Red Bull's seventh-consecutive pole position at the Turkish Grand Prix but faced a genuine challenge around the fast and sweeping Istanbul Park from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.
Webber nailed all three sectors of his lap but Hamilton was just 0.138 seconds shy and will crucially start ahead of Sebastian Vettel to stop a Red Bull roadblock into the first corner on Sunday. Vettel made a big mistake into the first corner of his lap and then aborted it altogether when he came across yellow flags at turn eight where Michael Schumacher had spun off.
In the other McLaren, Jenson Button never looked in the frame for the top spot as his car was bottoming out in turn eight and he then had to back off when he came across Schumacher's accident on his flying lap. He eventually finished fourth ahead of the two Mercedes of Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Rosberg had shown plenty of potential in the final practice session but under the pressure of qualifying was just under a tenth off his team-mate.
Schumacher's spin, although dramatic, should have no effect on his race tomorrow as the car came to a controlled rest in the gravel trap and he will start the race on the tyres he was using on the previous timed lap.
But while Mercedes showed improvements, Ferrari's challenge never materialised. Fernando Alonso failed to make the top-ten shootout after he made a big mistake in the final sector of his flying lap in Q2. He later said the car was fundamentally lacking in pace but, if his good long-run performance on Friday is anything to go by, he may be able come through the field in the race.
Felipe Massa also struggled in the Ferrari and ended up qualifying behind the in-form Robert Kubica, who again transcended his Renault. Rookies Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the top ten with solid results as they aim for points finishes on Sunday.
Outside the top 10, Adrian Sutil claimed to have got the best from his Force India to line up 11th on the grid ahead of Alonso and the usual suspects in Q2, such as de la Rosa, the Toro Rossos and the Williams.
In the other Force India, Tonio Liuzzi had a dreadful session and failed to make it out of Q1 for the second time this season. Unlike Sutil, he was running an F-duct on his car but it failed to help improve his lap times and he spun off entering turn nine on his first flying lap. He then had two more attempts to make the grade but fell short on both.
Lotus again showed it had made significant progress since it introduced a major upgrade in Spain and easily out qualified the other new teams. Bruno Senna also achieved a minor milestone for HRT as he pipped the Virgin of Lucas di Grassi to 22nd place, the first time he has done so in dry conditions.
Laurence Edmondson is an assistant editor on ESPNF1