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Sebastian Vettel to start Turkish GP in pole position


Latest update : 2009-06-06

Germany's Sebastian Vettel put Red Bull on pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix after pushing Formula One leader Jenson Button off his pedestal in the final seconds of qualifying.

AFP - German tyro driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull outpaced his rivals in the closing seconds of a dramatic qualifying session on Saturday to claim pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old German delivered his second pole of the season and the third of his career to pinch the prime starting position from nearest challenger and world championship leader Briton Jenson Button.

Vettel clocked a best time of 1minute 28.316 seconds to beat Button of Brawn by one-tenth of a second after the Englishman appeared to have taken pole ahead of Brawn team-mate Brazilian Rubens Barrichello.

Barrichello ended up third on the grid for Sunday's 58 laps race around the Istanbul Park circuit where in the last five years every pole-sitting driver has gone on to claim victory.

"Even after my engine problems yesterday, I was confident we could do something today (Saturday)," said Vettel, who joined Red Bull this season after graduating from Toro Rosso last year.

"The last couple of races have not gone our way but finally we are ahead of the white-car guys! At last we have made it and my thanks to the team who have done a brilliant job because some of the parts for the car really arrived right at the last minute and they worked so hard to do it."

Button, who improved on Saturday after a minor struggle for form on Friday, said: "We made some changes to the set-up overnight and, as the wind calmed down, the car worked a lot better. I got to grips with the car as the day drew on and it's good to be on the front row."

Australian Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull, Italian Jarno Trulli took fifth for Toyota ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen and his Ferrari team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa.

Two times world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Renault was eighth, German Nico Rosberg of Williams ninth and Pole Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber 10th.

After a slow start to the top-ten shootout, Trulli clocked a decent time before being eclipsed by Vettel, revelling in his form on one of his favourite tracks, took over at the top with just three and a half minutes remaining.

This ensured a dramatic finale in which the top teams and drivers would contest the scrap for pole with Button, notably, bidding to complete a hat-trick of poles.

Lewis Hamilton was eliminated after struggling to find any belief in his McLaren car around the Istanbul Park track. He tried his best in the final minutes to produce a lap that would take him through to Q2, but without avail.

He joined Brazilian Nelson Piquet of Renault, the two Toro Rosso drivers Swiss Sebastien Buemi and Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella of Force India in the bottom five.

The session, run in hot and dry conditions on a track that improved slowly as more and more rubber was laid down, was dominated by Vettel in his Red Bull. He finished up on top ahead of the two Brawn cars driven by Button and Barrichello with Webber fourth.

Piquet, who has constantly said he is confident he will retain his seat this season with Renault, twice spun off and the second time after a brakes problem bounced off through a gravel trap.

For Hamilton, it was the second time in successive races this season that he had failed to make the first cut.

In the second mini-session, Q2, Vettel again emerged on top for Red Bull ahead of Trulli with Button third as the track temperature rose to 46 degrees Celsius and the air temperature to 29 degrees.

The two Williams men German Nico Rosberg and Japanese Kazuki Nakjima joined German Timo Glock, in a Toyota, Finn Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren and German Adrian Sutil of Force India among those knocked out before the top ten shootout.

Hamilton said: "Welcome to my world! It has been tough - as the track got hotter and faster, we got slower and slower and everyone else found more speed. I don't know why but we have to do our best - basically I lost all grip out there.

"We started the weekend well, but we have gone backwards."

To suggestions that the team should advance their plans for a major upgrade from the German Grand Prix to the British, Hamilton said: "We should not rush anything.

"We cant win back 60 points so we need to spend the right amount of time to refine the car and get it right. I know the team are working day and night and it is going to be challenging year for us, but we will bounce back next year."

Date created : 2009-06-06