Masterful Mark makes it 3 in a row
Mark Webber made it three out of three as he took Pole position today in a somewhat anti-climatic final qualifying session ahead of tomorrow's Turkish Grand Prix. After a scruffy lap from Vettel's new bird (Randy Mandy) the German could only manage third behind an improved McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. He seemed to put this down to locking his front brakes and some sort of vibration, but it could be more psychological with Webber out performing him again.
I agree that “Randy Mandy” should be renamed “Webber’s Missus” or perhaps even “Jealous Jane”!
Mark had taken provisional pole on his first run squeezing out Hamilton who looked very strong, however most of the other runners aborted there final attemps after a dramatic off by Michael Schumacher, who brought out the yellow flags at Turn 8. That said, none of them looked like they would trouble Webber or Hamilton.
Surprise of Qualifying
Well maybe not so much of a surprise, more like a welcome reward is seeing Renault up there in the top 10. The team seem to have clearly cemented themselves as the 5th best team and now look set to try and mix it up with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari. Kubica seems to have carried on his impressive form displayed in Monaco two weeks ago, with a solid P7. That was backed up by a stellar performance from teammate Petrov, who also got into the top 10 and was only 0.4 secs off his teammate's time.
Perhaps a more welcome surprise, despite the amount of slagging off he seems to be getting, is that of Kobayashi making it into the top ten for the third time this season. He may not be getting the race results, in fact he’s only finished one race so far this season and that’s what really matters. That said he is certainly dragging that car up further than it should really be!
Disappointment of Qualifying
My first and foremost disappointment in qualifying has to be Fernando Alonso, who slipped out in Q2 and will be starting 12th tomorrow. The Spaniards debut season for Ferrari is not going well, it has been filled with mistakes and errors; a jump-start in China, a crash in Monaco and an engine failure in Malaysia. To name but a few. His qualifying here in Turkey is yet another example to show that the team and Alonso are not cutting the mustard. I’m still of the opinion that Ferrari are slipping out of the title hunt and no matter how much Luca DiMonty says the ‘F’ in Ferrari is for Formula 1 and vice-versa, it cannot cover up a miserable showing thus far in the teams 800th race.
My second disappointment is that of Nico Hulkenberg. Again. Although the German managed to get into Q2 he was the slowest man - half a second off his teammate Barrichello and six tenths off his Q1 time. That is pretty poor. People maybe calling for Liuzzi’s scalp to go at Force India, (including the BBC it seems), but if the Hulk keeps up this level of performance I doubt we’ll see him at Williams again next season.
Liuzzi was poor as well. He had the F-duct on his car and Sutil didn’t; yet the Italian was over a second off his teammate's pace. Richard seems to feel that Liuzzi is on borrowed time and will soon make way for test driver Paul Di Resta. This is no great disappointment for me though as the Italian has proved this season that he’s not of the standard needed in F1. Harsh but that’s the way the cookie crumbles in the sport.
Prediction for the Race
It seems that McLaren have either closed the gap to Red Bull or at the very least their car the MP4-25 is a bit better suited to Turkey. In any case it looks like were in for a bit more of a close race tomorrow. My money is still on Webber to take the victory, but I think the battle behind, between Hamilton, Vettel and Button could be key as they squabble amongst each other. Can Schumacher get into the mix and repeat his run in Spain getting ahead of Button? My housemate fears so.
The start will be a deciding factor as the Red Bulls have the cleaner side as apposed to the McLarens who start on the dirty side. I’m going to say; unless anything dramatic happens in the race which you have to feel could happen what with the number of offs at Turn 8 this weekend. It will finish as they are; Webber, Hamilton and Vettel will be the podium.
|1||M Webber||Red Bull||1:26.295|
|3||S Vettel||Red Bull||1:26.760|
|10||K Kobayashi||BMW Sauber||1:28.122|
|11||A Sutil||Force India||1:27.525|
|13||P De la Rosa||BMW Sauber||1:27.879|
|14||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:28.273|
|16||J Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:28.540|
|18||V Liuzzi||Force India||1:28.958|
|23||L Di Grassi||Virgin||1:31.989|
|2||M Webber||Red Bull||+6.7 secs|
|3||S Vettel||Red Bull||+7.4 secs|
|4||J Trulli||Toyota||+27.8 secs|
|5||N Rosberg||Williams||+31.5 secs|
|6||F Massa||Ferrari||+39.9 secs|
|7||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+46.2 secs|
|8||T Glock||Toyota||+46.9 secs|
|9||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+50.2 secs|
|10||F Alonso||Renault||+62.4 secs|
|11||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+64.3 secs|
|12||K Nakajima||Williams||+66.3 secs|
|13||L Hamilton||McLaren||+80.4 secs|
|14||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+1 lap|
|15||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|16||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+1 lap|
|17||A Sutil||Force India||+1 lap|
|18||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|DNF||R Barrichello||Brawn||+10 laps|
|DNF||G Fisichella||Force India||+55 laps|
|2||L Hamilton||McLaren||+3.7 secs|
|3||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+4.2 secs|
|4||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+21.9 secs|
|5||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+38.7 secs|
|6||F Alonso||Renault||+53.7 secs|
|7||M Webber||Red Bull||+64.2 secs|
|8||N Rosberg||Williams||+71.4 secs|
|9||D Coulthard||Red Bull||+75.2 secs|
|10||J Trulli||Toyota||+76.3 secs|
|11||J Button||Honda||+1 lap|
|12||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+1 lap|
|13||T Glock||Toyota||+1 lap|
|14||R Barrichello||Honda||+1 lap|
|15||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+1 lap|
|16||A Sutil||Force India||+1 lap|
|17||S Vettel||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|DNF||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+34 laps|
|DNF||K Nakajima||Williams||+57 laps|
|DNF||G Fisichella||Force India||+58 laps|