F1 »

Vettel atones for Monaco error with Turkish GP pole

Red Bull Racing star Sebastian Vettel has thrown down the gauntlet to Formula 1 World Championship leader Jenson Button in atoning for his Monaco mistake with a storming run to pole position for this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul – suggesting that after three races of pure Brawn GP domination, the title battle is back on.

It was, indeed, a breathless conclusion to qualifying around the anti-clockwise, technically challenging and physically demanding 14-turn Istanbul Park Circuit close to the Bosphorous, with Mark Webber and then Button stealing the top spot late on in Q3 before Vettel responded with a scintillating final effort to blow all of his competitors out of the water.

Rubens Barrichello in the second Brawn made the best of a bad situation in hauling himself up from seventh place to third on his very last effort, with Webber winding up fourth and Toyota's Jarno Trulli – who had similarly threatened to challenge for P1 after lapping a close second-quickest to Vettel on the first run – fifth.

The Ferraris underwhelmed somewhat with Kimi Raikkonen sixth and Istanbul expert and record man Felipe Massa seventh, with Fernando Alonso recovering well from a spin to take eighth in his Renault and Nico Rosberg for Williams and BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica rounding out the top ten at the close.

A fraught final few minutes to Q2 witnessed the top spot changing hands with alacrity from one moment to the next. With the suspicion that Brawn was keeping its powder dry, Red Bull and Toyota duelled it out for supremacy, though Webber left it late after a mistake on his first run put the Australian under pressure to perform later on – and perform he did. From 15th he leapt up to sixth at the close, with team-mate Vettel leading the way, seeing off a late challenge from Trulli to steal P1 in the 'low-fuel' session.

Toyota team-mate Timo Glock, by contrast – a man who had already struggled in Q1 – failed to produce the same pace, dropping out in a lowly 13th, in company with Nick Heidfeld in the BMW and Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams just ahead of him, with the Japanese ace's strong practice and Q1 form seeming to evaporate when it mattered the most, and a couple of off-track 'adventures' scarcely helping his cause either. McLaren-Mercedes' Heikki Kovalainen and the impressive Adrian Sutil completed the top 15, with the latter handing Force India its second Q2 breakthrough in as many outings.

Less than half a second, meanwhile, covered those who progressed on to the all-important Q3 shoot-out, with Vettel leading the way from Trulli, Button, Ferrari duo Massa and Raikkonen, Webber, Barrichello, Rosberg, Kubica in the improved, double-diffuser equipped BMW F1.09 and Alonso, who left it late to save his skin and ensure that his record of beginning every race of 2009 from inside the top ten remains intact.

Given how tightly-packed the field had been throughout practice – with barely seven tenths of a second blanketing the leading 16 runners on Friday, and a similar margin covering the top 15 in FP3 on Saturday morning – it was anticipated that there might be a number of big-name casualties inQ1. Nobody, though could have anticipated that the session would claim arguably the highest-profile scalp of them all.

As Toyota, Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams and Brawn GP set the leading pace – with Nakajima, Trulli, Vettel, Rosberg and Raikkonen all swapping the top spot between them – there were contrasting fortunes at BMW and McLaren, with Heidfeld and defending F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton looking to be the men most in danger as the clock ticked down, belying the progress the latter believed the Woking-based outfit had made after the opening practice day.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Brawn BGP001, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull RB5, Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn BGP001, Turkish F1, Istanbul Park, 5th-7th June, 2009
McLaren, 2011 launch, [Credit: Crash PA]
Williams, FW40, teaser shot [Credit: Williams Martini Racing]
Michael Schumacher and the 1996 Ferrari F310
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Antonio Giovinazzi - Ferrari SF15-T
Chase Carey, Ross Brawn & Sean Bratches
Sebastian Vettel, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, ROC [Credit: ROC]
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after winning the 2017 Race of Champions title in Miami [Pic credit: ROC]
Race of Champions 2017, action [Pic credit: ROC]
Juan Pablo Monotya. Race of Champions 2017, action [Pic credit: ROC]
2017 Race of Champions line-up in Miami [Pic credit: ROC]
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.