• Turkish Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel takes pole with ease at Istanbul Park

Laurence Edmondson May 7, 2011

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix with ease, setting just one lap in the final session of qualifying to save a fresh set of soft tyres for the race.

Team-mate Mark Webber was his closest rival and also set just one flying lap in Q3, underlining Red Bull's dominance on the Istanbul Park circuit. Nico Rosberg delivered on Mercedes' promise in free practice to line up third on the grid ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

Vettel was supreme in the first and second sectors of the lap, which includes turn eight where the Red Bull RB7 is at its dominant best this weekend. Webber could only match Vettel in the final sector of the lap, but second place is his best qualifying performance of the year and there were no signs of the KERS problems which have dogged his early races. What's more Webber completed the least amount of laps of anyone with just 10 to his name by the end of the three sessions.

Rosberg got within 0.2 seconds of Webber, but of more significance for his Mercedes team is that he qualified ahead of Hamilton's McLaren. The MP4-26 has struggled over the Istanbul Park's bumps all weekend and still looked a little out of sorts in qualifying, with Button visibly struggling under braking for balance. He was outqualified by Alonso who wringed the neck of his Ferrari to get 0.8 seconds off pole position, the closest he has been all season.

Vitaly Petrov qualified the Renault in a solid seventh place ahead of Michael Schumacher, who will be hugely disappointed to be over a second off his team-mate Rosberg. During his fast lap in Q2 he was told that his "magic paddle" was activated, but whatever that message referred to - a quick change in "settings" according to Ross Brawn - it failed to conjure up performance when it mattered. Nick Heidfeld was ninth in the second Renault and Felipe Massa, who has won in Turkey three times before, failed to set a time in Q3 and will start from tenth.

Rubens Barrichello came close to fulfilling his prediction of a to 10 grid slot with the 11th fastest time in Q2. He will start ahead of the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, his team-mate Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez's Sauber and the two Toro Rossos in 16th and 17th.

Kamui Kobayashi dropped out with the usual suspects in Q1 after losing drive on his first timed lap. As a result he will start from the back row of the grid. Ahead of him Tonio Liuzzi impressed in the HRT, qualifying ahead of Timo Glock in the Virgin. Jerome d'Ambrosio, who qualified 20th, will start from the very back of the grid due to a penalty he picked up during Friday practice for speeding under yellow flags.

Laurence Edmondson is an assistant editor on ESPNF1

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Laurence Edmondson Close
Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1 Laurence Edmondson grew up on a Sunday afternoon diet of Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell and first stepped in the paddock as a Bridgestone competition finalist in 2005. He worked for ITV-F1 after graduating from university and has been ESPNF1's deputy editor since 2010