Toyota - Ralf Schumacher (#11), Jarno Trulli (#12):

Just when it looked certain that Toyota would be looking for a new partner for Jarno Trulli in 2008, Ralf Schumacher produced his finest drive in some time to record a sixth place in Hungary just to confuse matters.

Indeed, it seems Toyota is at the centre of the 'silly season' on the assumption that Schumacher, on the back of a dismal start to the 2007 season, would be heading out of the team.

Nonetheless, a strong qualifying effort in Hungary, followed by a feisty drive to keep Fernando Alonso behind him for much of the race led to a sixth place finish, his best result of the season and equalling Trulli's best at Indianapolis.

Together with a qualifying performance from the team that has seen both cars start inside the top ten for the last three races, Toyota once again look to be on a mid-season rise, with an equally good performance in Turkey now on their radar.

"Hungary was a very strong weekend for me and the team, with my best qualifying and race results of the season," Schumacher said. "We looked really competitive and had a good result so I am now looking forward to building on that performance in Turkey.

"Our car seems to be reasonably competitive on different kinds of circuits so we are hopeful again for this weekend. It was important for the team to score points in Hungary and now we will aim to do that again in Turkey. I enjoyed the summer break but now I am ready to get back to racing."

Trulli meanwhile is currently experiencing something of a lean period, the Italian's famous qualifying pace not being backed up by his equally infamous lacklustre race pace. Indeed, the Italian has not scored since Indianapolis, although Trulli has at least scored in Turkey before, claiming sixth in 2005.

"I am looking forward to the Turkish Grand Prix after a relaxing break with my family. In the end it was a disappointing weekend for me in Hungary because we showed a lot of potential in practice and early in qualifying, especially when I was 3rd in Q2, but we did not get the result we hoped for. We need to work hard to improve.

"I am looking forward to the weekend and I hope we can get a decent result because we have shown if everything goes well, our car is capable of scoring points. I am aiming to keep up my good record of qualifying in the top 10 and then hopefully I can score points again."

Red Bull Racing - David Coulthard (#14), Mark Webber (#15):

Red Bull found themselves back in their mid-field natural habitat in Hungary, their third and fifth place finish at the Nurburgring nowhere near to being repeated two weeks later.

Indeed, it was an achingly anonymous event for both Mark Webber and David Coulthard, the duo qualifying ninth and tenth and then embarking on an afternoon's drive that merely yielded ninth and eleventh by the chequered flag.

Nonetheless, consistency is coming Red Bull's way now, as it reliability, their double finish in Hungary proving only their third of the season.

Istanbul was far from kind to the team last year though, with Christian Klien's top ten qualifying position the only real highlight of a weekend that produced no points. Still, the team know their way around the circuit, Coulthard finishing seventh in 2005 and Webber qualifying inside the top ten for both races - even if he is yet to finish at the circuit. Both drivers though will be looking to record good points on merit this weekend, and not just because those ahead fall off the circuit.

Williams - Nico Rosberg (#16), Alex Wurz (#17):

Williams pulled slightly away in their quest to maintain fifth position in the constructor standings after Nico Rosberg finished seventh in Hungary, even if his ill-judged three-stop pit strategy failed to make the most of his fourth place starting position.

With now almost double the points total they managed in 2006, Williams have shown strong performance at various stages of the year, Rosberg's Hungarian endeavour a case point, the German having proved strong the whole weekend.

It puts them four points ahead of Red Bull in the constructor standings, something the team will be keen to maintain in Turkey, a circuit Rosberg considers 'easier than Hungary'.

"Istanbul is a great track so I'm looking forward to driving it again. I'm hoping we will have found some more performance over the three week gap which will allow us to stay close to the others and to keep our momentum going into the last races. It's going to be very hot again so it'll be a tough race but it will still be easier than Hungary.

"I have some good memories from last year's race in Turkey, I was running in fifth at one point. To have a good race this year and score some more points for the team is what I'll be aiming for."

Although easily the more anonymous of Williams' driver pairing, that third and fourth place result for Alex Wurz means retains ninth position in the standings - ahead of Rosberg.

Still, despite being the lead driver on paper, Wurz is now getting to the stage where he needs to start pulling out some inspiring drives in regular conditions if he is to retain his Williams drive next year. On the plus side, the Austrian has finished all but two races this year and those two retirements were not self-inflicted or due to reliability errors. Williams however need someone to combine dependability and speed now though.

"I always look forward to the Turkish Grand Prix because it's such a fantastic race track. It is very demanding physically, mainly because of turn eight; a super fast, high G corner which really strains the neck muscles as well as the tyres and the car. I had a great holiday over the three week summer break with my family.

"I managed to train every day, and I covered lots of kilometres on the bike and while running. I also made sure I did some extra work to strengthen my neck, back and shoulders in preparation for Turkey."

Scuderia Toro Rosso - Vitantonio Liuzzi (#18), Sebastian Vettel (#19):

Basking in the news that they have secured the signature of Sebastien Bourdais in 2008, Scuderia Toro Rosso head to Istanbul with one eye on the future and full of confidence - well, maybe everyone except Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Indeed, with Scott Speed having already departed, Liuzzi must now contend with a remainder of a season in which he knows he will be fighting to stay in Formula 1 next year. Still, this could manifest in two different ways; either Liuzzi will be unmotivated enough merely to see out the rest of the season, or possibly he will use this time to impress prospective employers.

The latter is most likely because in new team-mate Sebastian Vettel, he has a benchmark. The fresh-faced young German is stern competition and is highly regarded up and down the pit lane. If Liuzzi can out pace him over the remaining rounds, then he stands a chance to displaying what he was always expected to show when he debuted in 2006.

Still, Turkey represents a year since Vettel burst onto the Formula 1 scene by assuming the role of Friday test driver for BMW. When he was quickest in his first session, Vettel's status as a star of the future was guaranteed - one year on, now comes the time in which he really must deliver.

Spyker F1 - Sakon Yamamoto (#20), Adrian Sutil (#21):

Spyker embark on their biggest weekend of the year as they launch the much anticipated B-specification of their F8-VII, a car which has been designed under the watchful eye of Mike Gascoyne.

That alone is expected to help the team up the grid, although most concerned are playing down the fact that they will now be a consistent mid-field contender and are instead insisting it is in 2008 that they will be able to show their true colours.

Nonetheless, Hungary was a turning point for Spyker alone after Adrian Sutil comprehensively out raced the Honda of Rubens Barrichello and was due to do the same to Jenson Button had he not retired.

"I think Hungary was one of the best results of the season as we finished in front of a works team," beamed Sutil. "For sure we have had some other good races this year, for example Indianapolis, where we have been able to get and stay close to the others but this last race was one of the best."

"It was difficult to get a feel for the [new] car as it was raining very hard, we only had 50km and we were using the short version of Silverstone, which has about four corners! I also knew that we had to take care of the car, stay on the track and not take any risks. We tested the engine temperature and set-up over longer runs and everything seemed to be working well."

Sakon Yamamoto meanwhile makes his second appearance with the team after a rather short debut in Hungary, but having proved closer to Sutil in pace than many had expected on his return to Formula 1, the Japanese driver has lofty aspirations for the rest of the season, including getting into the second phase of qualifying for the first time.

"I got quite close to Adrian in Qualifying, which I was pleased with as I think Adrian has a very good level with his driving, so his time is always the target. I first tried to be as close to him, but I just tried to push and use the car potential 100%. I don't know exactly how much we can improve with the new car, but my target now is going to Q2."

"Of course every time I drive a new car, whether Formula 1, Formula 3 or GP2, the seat fit is very important, but it takes time to get it right. We tried to have the best seat possible before going to Hungary but after we ran, we knew we would have to make some small modifications so after the race I came to Silverstone to make a new seat, which should help in Turkey."

Super Aguri F1 - Takuma Sato (#22), Anthony Davidson (#23):

Super Aguri kept themselves comfortably in the mix during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, with Anthony Davidson in particular impressing by easily out-qualifying Takuma Sato and then missing out on a possible first top ten finish when he was eliminated by a clash with Fisichella.

Sato went on to finish 15th, but although it proved to be a pretty unspectacular weekend for the Anglo-Japanese team, they were once again well ahead of 'superior sibling' Honda throughout qualifying and the race.

Turkey offers a new challenge though for the two drivers, but can at least be comforted by the knowledge that both Hondas, on which the Aguri SA07 is based, finished well inside the points in last year's race.

TYRES:

The medium and hard compound Bridgestone Potenza tyres make their first appearance since the British Grand Prix, the toughest combination of compounds the company will offer this year.

Part of this reason is likely to be the hugely demanding, if rather underwhelmingly named, 'turn eight' which is set to be the biggest challenge for the tyres. Indeed, with its three high-speed apexs, it is considered one of the finest corners on the Formula 1 calendar.

Nonetheless, the remainder of the Istanbul Park circuit is likely to take its toll on tyres too, the gradient changes and challenging mixture of high, medium and low-speed corners intended to test the drivers and their machines.

The final combination of corners before heading on to the start-finish straight will also give teams plenty to think about. The left-right-left of turns 12 to 14 are the lowest speed areas of the track and come straight after the highest-speed straight. This combination is a breeding ground for tyre graining so teams and drivers will have to pay particular attention here to minimise this.

"Istanbul is a very nice circuit because of its natural layout with both uphill and downhill sections. Hard braking into many corners over the course of the lap creates a lot of heat in the tyres. This adds to the ambient heat we usually experience there. Turn eight is a very challenging corner for the tyres because it creates a lot of g-forces.

"This corner is particularly significant as, were it not for the forces exerted on the tyre at turn eight, we could run with a softer compound in Turkey. Unlike Hungary, it is not as important to be on the front row in Turkey, as the layout creates more overtaking opportunities."

THE TRACK:
Race Distance: 58 laps - Circuit Length: 3.318 miles (5.338 kms)

The Turkish Grand Prix made its Formula One debut in 2005 at an all-new purpose built circuit just outside Istanbul. The 5.338km track was designed by Herman Tilke, the man behind the new circuits in Malaysia, Bahrain and China.

The circuit features fourteen turns - eight lefts and six rights - with plenty of gradient change as the track is built on four different ground levels. An unusual feature is that the lap runs anti-clockwise, joining Interlagos in Brazil as the only circuits currently on the F1 calendar to do so. The circuit provides the drivers with a real challenge, with the cars reaching speeds of up to 330kph along the two main straights.

The facilities at the circuit are as impressive as the race track. Seating capacity at Istanbul Park is 130,000 with 25,000 of those in the main grandstand, and parking is available for 12,000 cars. Dominating the circuit's skyline are two seven-floor towers built at either end of the paddock for VIPs and the media.

THE WINNER?

Perhaps the question here should be: Who needs to win? Should we assume that the winner is likely to come from either the McLaren or Ferrari camp, both teams' drivers are set to have different reasons for wanting to win come Sunday.

For Hamilton and Alonso, victory is more than just victory - it is a potential changing of the guard (if it hasn't already changed...) Both want to win to boost their title hopes, but at the same will hope to prevail in a clear head-to-head, something they haven't really had a chance to do this year for various reasons.

Raikkonen and Massa meanwhile need a win to maintain their contact in battling for the drivers' title having lost more ground to leader Hamilton in Hungary. However, the F2007 is predicted to be very strong on a fast circuit such as Istanbul Park and if their dominance at Magny-Cours and Silverstone is an indicator, Ferrari could well be the team to beat come race day, potentially making Hamilton and Alonso's inter-team rivalry look somewhat foolish.

LAST SEASON:

Having scored his first podium nine races earlier, Felipe Massa took his career plaudits to a new level in Turkey when he scored his first ever victory from under the nose of Michael Schumacher - and he probably had Fernando Alonso to thank for that.

Indeed, Schumacher had been dominant all weekend but made a mistake on his qualifying lap to gift Massa a first ever pole position too. Getting a good start, Massa led Schumacher as the Ferrari duo eased away from Alonso.

However, when a safety car period mid-way through the race threw strategies in the air, Ferrari were forced to bring both of their cars into the pit-lane at the same time, Massa leading Schumacher. With Schumacher forced to wait, Alonso did just enough to get out ahead again, where the two embarked on a thrilling cat and mouse chase over the final few laps. Eventually, Alonso prevailed by just a few tenths from Schumacher, but both were comfortably behind an emotional Massa.

Jenson Button followed up his breakthrough win a round before at Hungary with fourth position, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa - who battled bravely from 11th on the grid -, Giancarlo Fisichella, Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

1. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 58 laps 01:28:51.082
2. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +5.5
3. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari +5.6
4. Jenson Button Britain Honda-Honda +12.3
5. Pedro de la Rosa Spain McLaren-Mercedes +45.9
6. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault-Renault +46.5
7. Ralf Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari +59.3
8. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda-Honda +60.0

 

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