Sebastian Vettel is one cool customer. Vettel won pole position for the Grand Prix of Turkey with so much confidence, he and his team mate Mark Webber did not even see the need to be on track or actually in their race cars, as the rest of the field scrambled wildly trying to beat Vettel’s sizzling lap time. None of the other teams could come close to Seb’s time, but Nico Rosberg made a statement for the Mercedes team by coming in just behind Webber’s time for the 3rd spot on the grid. So Vettel claimed his 4th straight pole position of the 2011 season, with Webber right next to him, for the first all Red Bull-Renault front row of the year. Rosberg’s 3rd spot was his first in the top 3 since the 2010 Malaysian GP.
Arrogance or Confidence?
It was a pretty strange scene to see Vettel and Webber out of their cars in the garage with the rest of the field screaming around the track, but also it is a clear sign of the Red Bull team’s nearly arrogant confidence that they are THE team to beat. Awful hard not to agree with them after this kind of performance. Vettel describes how it feels to set an untouchable pole clinching time, “I’m very happy. It was a bit funny in Q3 today, as both Mark and I decided we would skip the second run and so we finished earlier than normal. It was a strange feeling, as the other cars are on track setting times and you are in the garage watching – they might beat you, but you can only watch the screens and there’s nothing you can do. It was an odd feeling but a good decision to save tyres for tomorrow’s race.”
While Vettel looks like he may be about to run away with the rest of the F1 season, looks like Nico Rosberg and the Mercedes GP team would like to challenge McLaren’s lock on the 2nd best team in F1. Rosberg barely missed taking out Webber for the 2nd spot on his final lap, which had to be making Mark squirm in the garage watching the feed. Webber did admit to wanting another lap or two, but noted it was all a part of the plan, “I would have liked to have got a couple more tenths to have the margin; obviously Sebastian did a very good lap for pole, but my lap wasn’t too bad. We spoke before qualifying and decided that, as tomorrow is going to be a long race, every lap you could save today might help tomorrow. It turns out that we’re in the best possible grid positions and the team did a good job, as we have saved a set of tyres too, so it’s looking good.
Close to the Front With a New Set
Nico was thrilled, especially since he was able to beat both McLarens for a change, “I am very happy with our performance in qualifying and it is amazing to see where we are right now. After a difficult start to the season, we are getting closer to the front and I’m pleased that we are making a small step forward each weekend: thank you to the team for a great job so far. We saved one set of new soft tyres for the race, which will be important in terms of strategy. I’m really looking forward to the race.”
Also his Mercedes team mate Michael Schumacher made into Q3 for the first time since his return. Michael only managed 8th, but had to be happy just to be within sight of the front. Team Ferrari appears to still be struggling, but at least Fernando Alonso got his car in front of the McLaren of Jenson Button.
Makeup Time For Team Red Bull
If anyone but Vettel wins this race it will be a major surprise. Certainly if Webber does it, it would be less surprising. But if Rosberg comes away with a victory, this sport would be re-energized, and the rest of the season could be one to remember.
Vettel will get this one, unless there is another huge mistake like he made last year, bashing into Mark and knocking the Red Bull team out of the race in Turkey. This year, they will make that memory a dim one and make things right.
Turkish GP – Saturday – Qualifying Session Results
POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT TIME
1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1:25.049
2. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:25.454
3. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes GP 1:25.574
4. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.595
5. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari 1:25.851
6. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.982
7. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault 1:26.296
8. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes GP 1:26.646
9. Nick Heidfeld Germany Renault 1:26.659
10. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari No Time
11. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth 1:26.764
12. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1:27.027
13. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1:27.145
14. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Cosworth 1:27.236
15. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.244
16. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.255
17. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.572
18. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Renault 1:28.780
19. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Renault 1:29.673
20. Jerome d’Ambrosio Belgium Virgin-Cosworth 1:30.445
21. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy HRT-Cosworth 1:30.692
22. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 1:30.813
23. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 1:31.564
24. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari No Time