RED BULL’S Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to achieve four pole positions in the first four races of a season since Mika Häkkinen (McLaren) did so in 1999, after a stunning performance in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion’s fastest time in Q3 around the Istanbul Park circuit was 1:25.049 at a speed of 140.531-mph. His team-mate, Mark Webber, will line up alongside him after setting a 1:25.454 lap time, a full four-tenths of a second behind Vettel. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg will start third on the grid after producing a lap time of 1:25.574.
So confident of their speed, the Red Bulls sat out the last part of the 10-minute Q3 session, thus saving a set of tyres and some engine performance for the race tomorrow.
Fourth to tenth on the grid will be respectively filled by: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) who has started from fifth on the grid for every race this season, Jenson Button (McLaren), Vitaly Petrov (Renault), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) making this his first top 10 start of the year, Nick Heidfeld (Renault) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) who didn’t set a time in Q3.
Q2 saw the demise (not literally) of: Rubens Barrichello (Williams), Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta (both Force India), Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Sergio Pérez (Sauber) and the Toro Rosso’s of Sébastien Buemi and Jamie Alguersuari respectively. These seven drivers will start the race from 11th-17th on the grid.
Starting from 18th-22nd on the grid are: Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli (both Lotus), Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT), Timo Glock (Virgin) and Narain Karthikeyan (HRT).
Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) will start 23rd on the grid after failing to set a lap time in Q1 after his engine died on his out lap. He is being allowed to start the race because he has set a time within this weekend’s 107% Rule time (1:33.103) in practice. Virgin’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio will start from the back of the grid after receiving a five-place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags in Friday practice. Were it not for this penalty, the Belgian rookie would have been starting from 20th on the grid.
As a McLaren fan it pains me to say that I believe Red Bull (Vettel in particular) will stroll to victory tomorrow. They are just so fast, and in every past Turkish Grand Prix the winner has come from the front row of the grid which Red Bull have locked out.