Sebastian Vettel put in another supreme qualifying performance to take pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix, setting a time that was over four tenths of a second faster than team-mate Mark Webber, who makes it an all Red Bull front row for tomorrow's race.
Nico Rosberg demonstrated Mercedes' ever-improving pace by taking third, knocking Lewis Hamilton down to fourth place.
Fernando Alonso claimed his fourth fifth place grid slot of the season, and will be joined on the third row of the grid by the second McLaren of Jenson Button. Vitaly Petrov was an impressive seventh for Renault whilst Michael Schumacher was again comprehensively out-qualified by his team-mate in eighth. Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa make up the top ten.
The first part of qualifying was virtually wrapped-up in the opening seconds after Kamui Kobayashi lost drive during his first flying lap and was dumped out of the session. This would normally mean a predictable list of casualties in Q1: the one unfortunate 'big-hitter' and the six drivers in the new teams. However, an impressive lap from Heikki Kovalainen meant that Paul di Resta spent much of Q1 in the drop-zone. However, a decent qualifying lap saw him jump out of the eighteenth place with a minute of the session to go.
Kovalainen also got Felipe Massa and Ferrari worried. The Brazilian chose to go out for a second set of flying laps – on soft tyres. This gave him the fastest lap of Q1, but at the expense of a set of the precious option rubber. Sebastian Vettel was second fastest at this early stage, just ahead of team-mate Mark Webber.
Michael Schumacher may find himself in a spot of bother with the stewards after blocking one of Lewis Hamilton's flying laps during Q1. In the German's defence though, Hamilton made it through without any trouble – something the stewards may reflect on in their deliberations.
The remaining Sauber of Sergio Perez made his exit from qualifying during Q2, along with both Force Indias, both Williams and both Toro Rosso cars. Vettel was the fastest driver in this second stage whilst Nico Rosberg continued Mercedes' good weekend by setting the second quickest time.
Fears that teams would wait in the pit-lane for the early part of Q3 were quickly waylaid as Webber, Hamilton, Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button all came out soon after the top-ten shoot-out began. Felipe Massa and the two Mercedes, however, opted to wait and do just one flying lap.
Vettel was the victor of this early bout – a stunning lap of 1:25.049 put him top of the time sheets early on – and four tenths faster than his team-mate.
As the clock-ticked down below the three-minute mark, Alonso, Button and Hamilton came out for their second assault on pole position, whilst the two Renaults and the two Mercedes made their one and only outing of Q3. A supremely confident Sebastian Vettel couldn't be bothered with a second run. He got out of his car and strode away. Mark Webber clearly thought he could not compete for pole position, and opted to save a set of tyres too.
Back on track, Rosberg put in an excellent lap to jump up to third, ahead of Hamilton. The Brit could not beat the Mercedes with his second attempt, and will start fourth. Meanwhile, Schumacher was over a second off the pace of his team-mate, and will start tomorrow's race in eighth. Massa did not a set a lap time in Q3, and will start tenth.
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:25.049||12||Report|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:25.454||10||Report|
|10||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||No time||16||Report|
|12||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:27.027||14||Report|
|13||15||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:27.145||11||Report|
|16||18||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:27.255||9||Report|
|17||19||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:27.572||7||Report|
|20||25||Jerome D'Ambrosio *||Virgin Racing||1:30.445||8|
|21||23||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Hispania Racing||1:30.692||7|
|22||24||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||1:30.813||8|
|23||22||Narain Karthikeyan||Hispania Racing||1:31.564||8|
|24||16||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber||No time||2||Report|
|107% qualifying time||1:33.103|
* Jerome D’Ambrosio will be dropped five grid places as punishment for speeding under yellow flags during FP2. The penalty will be applied on race day.