Australian Mark Webber completed a hat-trick of pole positions when he clocked the fastest time for Red Bull in qualifying for today’s Turkish Grand Prix.
The 33-year-old championship leader - who leads teammate Sebastian Vettel by virtue of races won as they are level on points - has now claimed four poles this season, five in his career and the Red Bull team have taken all seven this year.
Vettel, 22, qualified third behind 2008 champion Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren who therefore split the pacesetters and claimed a front row start for the first time this year. Hamilton’s McLaren teammate defending champion and fellow-Briton Jenson Button was fourth ahead of German comeback kid Michael Schumacher, 41, of Mercedes.
His Mercedes team-mate and fellow-German Nico Rosberg was sixth ahead of Pole Robert Kubica of Renault with Brazilian Felipe Massa eighth for Ferrari. His team-mate Spaniard Fernando Alonso was only down in 12th.
On a warm, but overcast day at the Istanbul Park circuit, the three new teams were all eliminated in the Q1 opening mini-session together with under- pressure Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi of the Force India team. Liuzzi, 29, had one final lap to try and escape the early cut, but could not improve and, two weeks after the Force India team had two cars finishing for the first time at the Monaco Grand Prix, they had one ousted in the first session of qualifying.
In Q2, it was Vettel on top again as he was in Q1 and in the morning free practice session. The shock was in seeing Ferrari’s two-times world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso failing to make the cut to the top ten shoot-out. Alonso, who ran over a white line and suffered a big wobbly moment as he ran towards turn 12, could only end up 12th.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 30th, 2010.
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