Sebastian Vettel holds back Brawns for pole

2009 Turkish Grand Prix qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel dominated qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, setting fastest time in all three parts of the session.

His final time prevented Brawn from securing a lock-out of the front row and – gives him a vital opportunity to cut into Jenson Button’s points lead.


Unusually, the combination of high track temperatures and low track grip meant the teams were struggling to get good laps out of the soft tyre. Many started the session using the hard tyre, setting two laps on it to get the most out of the rubber.

At first the Ferrari drivers delivered on their practice pace but it soon emerged that Red Bull had something in reserve, Sebastian Vettel taking to the top of the times. He took the opportunity to remain in the pits and save tyres.

Meanwhile everyone else went out for a final run. Improvements by the BMW drivers promoted them from the ‘drop zone’, putting Lewis Hamilton in among the bottom five. His final lap was a 1’28.402 which failed to improve on his previous best.

But team mate Heikki Kovalainen scraped through with a 1’28.199. Perhaps even more galling for Hamilton was the presence of Adrian Sutil’s Mercedes-powered Force India on a 1’28.278, just four-hundredths quicker than Hamilton and, crucially, making it into Q2.

Also out – but rather more spectacularly – was Nelson Piquet Jnr. The Renault driver had brake problems on his final lap and spun into a gravel trap.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’28.318
17. Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault – 1’28.582
18. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’28.708
19. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes – 1’28.717
20. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’28.918


The times continued to tumble in Q2, with Felipe Massa improving to a 1’27.462.

But now some drivers began experimenting with the soft tyre and it was Jenson Button who managed them best, finding a 1’27.322 to go quickest. But Vettel, also on the softs, moved into second just a hundredth of a second behind.

Mark Webber went off on his first attempt and had to abort his lap. That left him in the drop zone with two minutes to go, along with Sutil, Kovalainen, Timo Glock and Kazuki Nakajima. But when Webber finally got a lap in he jumped up to third, pushing Fernando Alonso into the bottom five.

Alonso escaped the drop zone in the dying moment of the session, relegating BMW’s Nick Heidfeld to the bottom five.

Glock was on course to make the final ten but lost time in the last sector, leaving him 13th. Just a few seconds later his team mate Jarno Trulli flashed across the line to set the fastest time of the session.

Trulli was later pegged back by Vettel, setting the best time of the weekend with a 1’27.016.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW – 1’27.521
12. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota – 1’27.629
13. Timo Glock, Toyota – 1’27.795
14. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’28.207
15. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes – 1’28.391


The first run of lap times produced a top three covered by 0.067s: Vettel headed them, with Trulli second and Button third.

Webber took up fourth ahead of Alonso but the Ferraris were down in sixth and seventh, 0.6s slower than the fastest drivers, suggesting heavier fuel loads.

Also surprisingly far down the top ten was Rubens Barrichello, setting a 1’29.623 to split the Ferraris.

Pole position turned into a Brawn-versus-Red Bull shoot-out, with Trulli unable to do better than fifth with his final effort.

Webber went fastest to begin with, only to be pipped by Button who was then joined by Barrichello, threatening an all-Brawn front row. But Vettel’s final lap put him back at the top and, crucially, up at the front for tomorrow’s race.

Update: Vettel to make first pit stop before Button (Turkish Grand Prix fuel weights)

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – 1’28.316
2. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’28.421
3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’28.579
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault – 1’28.613
5. Jarno Trulli, Toyota – 1’28.666
6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1’28.815
7. Felipe Massa, Ferrari – 1’28.858
8. Fernando Alonso, Renault – 1’29.075
9. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota – 1’29.191
10. Robert Kubica, BMW – 1’29.357

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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39 comments on “Sebastian Vettel holds back Brawns for pole”

  1. I expect Button on the first place after the first corner, Vettel already had a few bad starts this year.*-

  2. guys i think mclaren should stop updating this car i guess the problem is not the car it has to do with the people who are actually in-charge of the car .Are these fellows on top of thier game.

    by the way good luck to vettel

  3. lewis is beginning to irritate me with this constant praise that he lavishes on the mclaren engineers ,if the job is bad i think he has should simply say it .

    how hard is it for hamilton to simply tell whatever is in his mind ,no driver who keeps getting all this garbage updates will carry on praising some lost engineers .

    “I think the guys are doing a fantastic job ,they are working flat out “.says hamilton .I know these comments are not from the heart.

    1. As I remember, a couple of races ago he was saying the team hadn’t done good enough and he got slated for moaning about it.

      The engineers probably are working very hard – and there’s nothing wrong with that per se… it’s just not the right kind of work at the moment.

    2. cured cat, why shouldn’t Lewis praise the engineers? Do you not think everyone in that team and at woking are working like crazy? It’s clear this year is not for them, but as team leader he has to keep spirits up. What would you like him to say? you lot have done a terrible job, spent millions, the car is rubbish, you’ve lost me the championship, you’re fired? The only way you can know what Lewis is saying, is not from the heart is, if you know him personally. Do you know him? of course you don’t.
      I say keep praising your team Lewis, they need you now more than ever.

      1. I say keep praising your team Lewis, they need you now more than ever.

        I´m with you on this one. 7 months ago those guys made herculean job delivering a fantastic car to Lewis fight for the championship at Brazil. Lewis surely will not forget this…

        Anyway, look at the debrief after any race and you will see the face of the guys and will not think like that anymore:

        1. Becken, Thanks for the clip, first time seeing it. Those guy’s look so dejected, can anyone imagine how worse they would feel, if Lewis or Heikki started laying into them. Keep fighting boys, you’ll be up there again soon.

    3. I feel quite sorry for Paddy Lowe & his team. Along with Rory Byrne & Pat Symonds, he designed his car to the wishlist the FIA gave them as OWG & then was dropped on from a great height by the allowance of the double-diffuser which went against their mandate for the rule.
      The KERS (also an FIA request) has thrown the customary balance of cars.
      No testing (particularly when your most experienced driver is your test driver) makes it doubly hard to bring a car back to the front.
      It does go to show, though, that you can`t necessarily tell who`s a great driver if they`re fortunate enough to be in a great car.

  4. He’s damned if he tells it how it is,and damned if he doesn’t.What’s a poor boy to do ?

  5. paul sainsbury
    6th June 2009, 13:58

    Yeah, no doubt ‘cured cat’ would be whining like hell if Lewis what critical of his team.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys
    6th June 2009, 14:25

    I have to laugh at all the people who felt that Massa was a sure thing of victoy smply because he’s won the last three Turkish Grands Prix.

  7. Someone has the fuel weights ?

      1. Very funny !

          click on the saturday under car weights. when the weights are published the red thing will be in the box and it will be a pdf

          1. Tks. Joe. Not yet available, seems ?

    1. 01 McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 696.5*
      02 McLaren Mercedes Heikki Kovalainen 665.0*
      03 Ferrari Felipe Massa 654.0
      04 Ferrari Kimi Räikkönen 658.0
      05 BMW Sauber Robert Kubica 664.0
      06 BMW Sauber Nick Heidfeld 681.5*
      07 Renault Fernando Alonso 644.5
      08 Renault Nelson Piquet 689.6*
      09 Toyota Jarno Trulli 652.0
      10 Toyota Timo Glock 689.0*
      11 STR Ferrari Sébastien Bourdais 701.0*
      12 STR Ferrari Sébastien Buemi 686.5*
      14 RBR Renault Mark Webber 656.0
      15 RBR Renault Sebastian Vettel 649.5
      16 Williams Toyota Nico Rosberg 660.0
      17 Williams Toyota Kazuki Nakajima 680.4*
      20 Force India Mercedes Adrian Sutil 668.5*
      21 Force India Mercedes Giancarlo Fisichella 688.5*
      22 Brawn Mercedes Jenson Button 655.5
      23 Brawn Mercedes Rubens Barrichello 652.5
      *declared weight

  8. What do you guys think about the only frenchy Bourdais, will he stay ? And Piquet Jr, again in the gravel trap, clumsy ~)

    1. Brake failure for NP.Maybe SB will return to the IRL in the near future?

  9. Lewis isn’t in the position to be critical towards the engineers when he has been out qualified. He’s got most of the same people around him as he did last year. The engineers are doing their maximum just like before, however this time they just simply have gone the wrong direction on some aspects on the car which could have happened last year but fortunately for Lewis that didn’t happen. Everyone in the team will be doing their utmost to gain time. Being critical would not help this situation. Do McLaren criticise Lewis when he crashes or makes errors?

  10. In a display of how bored I’ve become with this years championship, I didn’t watch qualifying. The first time in years I’ve missed it. Infact I forgot all about it! :S

    Seeing that Vettel got pole, I kinda wish I had.

    It’s a shame for McLaren, but so long as they enter, there is always next year! :)

  11. was it me or did ross say that they were pitting on lap 17? if he did, which driver was he talking about?

  12. Thanks Sebastien for completely scuppering my prediction :)

  13. Assuming there’s no torrential downpour it will the first time Vettel leads from a real start

    1. I doubt he’ll be in the lead at the first corner

  14. On first turn, I think Barichello will be 2nd and Button third.
    Kimi again stronger than Massa on Massa’s track.
    Best of luck for Vettel. I hope it will be good race. Love to see Webber’s race tomorrow.

    1. Yes Webber ! Full of talent, and unfortunately ignored. Very (too) discreet for the F1 world. I am afraid both BGP will be ahead of the first corner…?

  15. Barrichello’s lighter than Button, Vettel’s even lighter. Button seems best placed

  16. Vettel & Alonso lighters in fuel…

  17. Seb is 6Kg heavier than Jense

    1. No,he’s six lighter.

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed todays qualifying…

  19. Good to see Kimi ahead of Massa on Massa’s track with more fuel load.

  20. From the post:

    Also surprisingly far down the top ten was Rubens Barrichello, setting a 1′29.623 to split the Ferraris.

    Does that belong here?

  21. LOL, Navs – No!
    Put it back where you found it & wait for someone to claim it ;)

  22. StrFerrari4Ever
    6th June 2009, 20:51

    Great quali was disappointed with the Toro Rosso’s but Sebastian Vettel did brilliantly yes he might be lighter but he could really challenge the Brawns.Mclaren well they aren’t going anywhere fast should be interesting to see the man with the biggest cajones in F1 fighting back up.

    1. B**lls :)

  23. :) :) :) The days goes by You,Mr.Massa,will be in high! All the best! Your fan. :) :) :)

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