Sebastian Vettel today took a fantastic pole in the arid heat of the Istanbul Park F1 circuit in Turkey. The Red Bull man whisked his RB5 around the track faster than all the others could in the final session, beating the two Brawns into second and third place.
The Red Bull looks as good as predicted, with Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber following the front three closely behind. Jarno Trulli underlined the potential of the Toyota in fifth slot on the grid, although there are rumours already circulating that he might be short-fuelled.
A much improved BMW Sauber team saw Nick Heidfeld narrowly miss out on the top ten shootout, and Kubica fight for the upper echelons of the grid.
But others were not so happy. Ferrari will be disappointed with their sixth and seventh for Raikkonen and Massa respectively. Prior to the weekend much was made of how competitive the red cars would be at this track, and after good times in Q1 and Q2, fans were awaiting stunning laps from the two drivers that never materialised. KERS will help them off the start, but it might not jump them as close to the front as they wanted.
Lewis Hamilton went out in the first session, complaining of a lack of speed from his McLaren. The evidence of his team-mate would reinforce this – Kovalainen ended up distinctly midfield – but McLaren had been optimistic prior to the action today. Disappointment persists for Woking, who are rumoured to have started developing their 2010 car in earnest, writing off this year.
Nelson Piquet blamed his brakes for another failure to get into Q2, and it seemed clear that the Brazilian had some sort of problem with a tame off track excursion that ended his Saturday. The Toro Rossos brought the field up.