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So that's all from me today - be sure to join me from about 0830 BST tomorrow for the intrigue of final practice and then the sheer intensity of qualifying. It's still all to play for...
"I can smell some points for Kubica this weekend. Come on Robert!"MastaBlastar via text on 81111
So not a huge amount to be learned from that, really, but that's not to say there hasn't been big news in the world of F1 today; it has been revealed that preparations for the British Grand Prix at Donington Park will continue after operators reached an out of court settlement with the track owners. That is happy, happy days.
Legal settlement saves British GP
"We cannot read absolutely anything into today's timings. It's all about tomorrow in terms of determining race pace."Force India commercial director Ian Phillips
No change at the end of the session, then, with the vast majority of fast times posted in the first 20 minutes or so. McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen tops the charts, 0.006 seconds ahead of the Renault of Fernando Alonso, who almost pipped the Finn with a quick lap at the end despite graining on his tyres. The Brawn GPs are way down the charts, but we all suspect that's down to testing proceedures rather than a reflection of their race pace. Very much a case of liquorice all-sorts at the top of the leaderboard and not a huge amount to be learned about who might be competitive come Sunday really, all in all.
Conditions remain very tricky out there, and Kazuki Nakajima and Giancarlo Fisichella have a bit of a tete-a-tete before both spin on the track. I don't think either driver is happy with the other, but fist-waving is kept to an absolute minimum and they both get on with it. No time for road rage with a minute and a half to go in the session.
"The G-force involved going round the corners of this track makes a driver's head weigh around five times its normal weight. The drivers here have revealed that one way of coping with the extreme pressures is to have a block wedged into the cockpit to rest their heads on when going through the left-handed corners."BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park
"If Brawn are running with quite a lot of race fuel and with race set-ups they cant be doing too bad. Button is only a second off first against drivers with qualifying set-ups!"tomgriff22 on 606
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The majority of drivers appear to be having a problem or two with soft tyres, and Felipe Massa in particular is suffering graining on his rear tyres - he's not happy and his race engineer Rob Smedley is doing his best to placate his charge while effectively telling him he has to get on with it. Bit of a balancing act, that, because Massa is not the biggest fan of 'tough love' on the circuit, it has to be said. Just over 10 minutes of the session remaining and there is minimal movement on the time charts right now.
Panic over Brawn GP fans - the crew are happy enough with Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button's pace in this session, apparently, meaning testing programmes must be running.
Another run-off from a high-profile driver as Felipe Massa goes into Turn 12 too fast and the Brazilian ends up on the grass. No harm done, though, and he gets his Ferrari going immediately.
"It's not like Jenson Button to be sat so low in the time charts and the fact that Ross Brawn is in the pits rather than on the wall suggests to me something might not be quite right. That said, he's heading out now on the soft tyres so let's see what he does here."BBC Sport's pit lane reporter Holly Samos
Fernando Alonso is now second fastest behind Heikki Kovalainen, pushing Robert Kubica - who is Polish, not Czech, slip of the fingers from me there! - into third. Kimi Raikkonen is not a happy bunny, the Finn complaining about the front wing of his Ferrari. He's 11th in the timings at the moment, with half hour to go.
"Can I ask why, as soon as we see new talent on the grid (Vettel, Alonso), people automatically assume they should be in a Ferrari? Bit boring really."Matt in Milton Keynes via text on 81111
A lot of teams are having problems on the softer option tyres, reports Holly Samos
from the pits, which might explain the rather large numbers of spins in these two practice sessions. Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull, meanwhile, is being carted back into the pits by the crew on what looks like a big skateboard - snazzy.
Woop-de-doo for Robert Kubica as he sends his BMW second in the charts. The Pole was apparently caught on camera smiling this morning, a first for the season? Lewis Hamilton is having all sorts of steering problems in his McLaren, not sure if that's oversteer or a lack of grip on the dusty track, but he's eighth fastest as it stands, just behind Felipe Massa. By the way, for the record it's Holly Samos in the pit lane for Five Live sports extra, not Lee McKenzie - my bad. I'm hoping I don't suffer a backlash in the BBC canteen at any point.
Heikki Kovalainen is the quickest man on the track now, having posted a lap of 1:28.841. The Brawn GPs of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, meanwhile, are languishing down in 16th and 15th respectively. Hhmmm.
"Re: Sophie (below). Sebastian has already proved over the last two seasons that he is going to be a huge star in Formula 1. He's the perfect all-round racing driver. He's polite, funny, passionate and one of the most naturally talent drivers the sport has seen for many years. Would love him to join Ferrari in the near future. Come on Kimi and Felipe!"Rob in Exeter via text on 81111
Pressure, then, on Mark Webber's shoulders as he has to do a one-man job in his Red Bull - I wonder what programmes they are looking to run? Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton spins on Turn One and that's driver error more than anything. He takes a couple of minutes out, before spinning the car back the right way James Bond-style and he's back up and running. Bloomin' show-off.
Oh dear, that doesn't look good. Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull breaks down on Turn Two and we have a yellow flag situation. It's terminal and his practice is over after four laps. BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Holly Samos
reports the German felt a huge vibration and stopped the car. A drive-shaft problem appears to be the diagnosis.
It's the duel of the Williams out there at the moment, with Kazuki Nakajima and Nico Rosberg to-ing and fro-ing at the top of the time charts. That is until Sebastian Vettel produces his best lap of the day so far to split the pair with the second quickest circuit of the session. Felipe Massa is down in 18th at the moment, with Raikkonen 15th - are they slow or just running through some programmes?
1226: BBC Sport's pit lane reporter Holly Samos
confirms that Renault are not testing Kers today - surely an indication they will not be employing the power-boost system this weekend. That would mean only Ferrari and McLaren will have Kers in Turkey.
"The entry [for the Formula 1 2010 championship] closed last Friday and we've seen 20 names bandied around. When they [the FIA] do name who the select few are, won't it be interesting? If you asked me who will be on the Turkish grid this time next year, I think you would see 90% of today's teams."Force India commercial director Ian Phillips
"Watch out for Sebastian Vettel next year - he will be world champion and eventually be as big as Michael Schumacher."Sophie from Shropshire via text on 81111
There's been a bit of speculation surrounding Force India recently, with talk that they had pulled out of Fota to sign up for the 2010 season regardless of any compromise on Max Mosley's budget cap plans. Well we can put that to bed, as the team's commerical director Ian Phillips
tells Five Live sports extra "we submitted a joint entry last Friday, and there's nothing more to say".
Nelson Piquet Jr - your time at the top of the time charts is up. Let's hope you enjoyed it while it lasted. Lewis Hamilton is the fastest man on the track with a lap of 1:29.452, with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen firmly in his wake. Robert Kubica and Jenson Button are starting to up their pace after a low-key first practice, with 17 cars having now posted laps.
"A productive lunch break here in Istanbul where BBC HQ was first wowed and then satiated by a huge, round loaf of bread. Jonathan Legard tried to run off with it under his arm this morning to stash in the commentary box before he was apprehended. Meanwhile, Toro Rosso have revealed Sebastien Bourdais had pasta for lunch while Sebastien Buemi had chicken and polenta. The team also said they were running a race programme during first practice and expect to be higher up the standings in the second run."BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park
Maurice Hamilton and Ian Phillips are getting their teeth into the good ol' Kers debate on Five Live sports extra, with the pair of the opinion it is very much the "white elephant" of this season. Hhmm. Nelson Piquet Jr posts the fastest time of, well, the first five minutes with a lap of 1:30.489 in his Renault. That may be as good as it's going to get for him, I fear.
As the pictures from Istanbul Park beam into our TV screens via the red button and into this very website, it appears to be bright, sunny and hot in Turkey. No sign of rain at all. Who'd trust the weathermen huh? Second practice gets under way and Williams' Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi of Toro Rosso are the first out on track.
A brief check of our weather forecast and, lo and behold, it's changed its mind. We're looking at a heavy shower imminently now, apparently. That might spice things up a touch.
"Adrian Sutil was only 0.1 of a second off Jenson Button in first practice - impressive?"Rhodsey_F1 on 606
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Anyway, let's get back to Formula 1 hey? And with just under 10 minutes to go until second practice starts, why don't you take the opportunity to delve (albeit not all that deeply) into the reservoirs of your memory and relive one of the Turkish GP's great races - the inaugural Istanbul Park race of 2005. That was back when Kimi Raikkonen was very much the Flying Finn and the brilliant Juan Pablo Montoya was lighting up F1 circuits the world over. I miss that brilliant Colombian, I really do. Nascar's gain is very much F1's loss.
A short aside, by the way; former Barcelona and Holland boss Frank Rijkaard has taken over as technical director of Galatasaray. They're one of the biggest football teams in Turkey, just in case you were doubting its relevance.
Rijkaard takes Galatasaray post
So, for the 10th time this season, Nico Rosberg topped the time charts earlier - and who's to bet against him doing it again in this upcoming session? Oh, a fair few of you. I wonder if the Brawns, Red Bulls and Ferraris will try this session, after nothing really more than a technical workout this morning. And it'll be interesting to see if Lewis Hamilton can impress again after a cracking few runs earlier - a competitive McLaren would surely ease his frustration in a way no Pussycat Doll can.
"My guess would be that Williams are running their cars on very low fuel. Nico Rosberg was massively faster than anyone else in the earlier practice."Dan Raf Lyneham via text on 81111
"Rosberg is the only person who actually tries in practice. The rest are just trying not to wreck their car and get good data. It's the only way he will get publicity. It's working too. I heard he is gonna replace Kovalainen at McLaren."prakhar1 on 606
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I should probably get out more shouldn't I.
Did you know, Istanbul Park - one of only three anti-clockwise tracks in the championship - has 14 turns (six of them right-handers), four straights and about 67% of each lap is spent at full throttle? The race will consist of 58 laps, each lap being 3.317 miles, meaning the drivers must cover 192.250 miles in total during the race. All four races at this track have been won from pole position, with the lap record held by Juan Pablo Montoya, who whizzed his McLaren round the circuit in 1:24.770 in 2005.
Right then, I'm off to grab a bacon sandwich (the breakfast of kings) - why don't you rejoin me from about 1130 BST ahead of second practice at 1200? In the mean time, hop on over to 606
and chat amongst yourselves about all things F1. Nice.
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"I think Rosberg does get a bit too much stick; in F1 you can only really compare someone to their team-mate, and this year it's 6-0 in races, 6-0 in qualifying, and 6-0 in fastest laps to Rosberg. Yes his team-mate isn't the best, and yes he should probably have converted more of his practice pace into championship points, but his season isn't all that bad."BoingBoingWBA1 on 606
"I can see why Williams have put in an unconditional entry for next year - against the better judgement of the rest of the Fota. It's so they can finally turn some of these practise performances into points - as they may be hoping that their current competition aren't there next year."Frelnik on 606
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Williams suspended in sign-up row
So, what can we deduce from that, other than Nico Rosberg should be pushing for points for practice sessions? Well, McLaren look improved, Toyota will be happy to have Jarno Trulli up in third, and BMW Sauber, Force India and Toro Rosso all still have as much chance of challenging for race honours as your local milkman. It's still hard to see past the suspicion the race will be dominated by Brawn GP, Red Bull and Ferrari - but maybe, just maybe, Felipe Massa has spoken too soon in declaring this championship race as already over?
Championship already over - Massa
"Gosh Rosberg on the top. Who'da thunk?"Bruxism on 606
"This is the problem with Hamilton - he does great in the practice sessions, and then collapses in qualifying. Hopefully, he'll be able to do better this week."ade2007 on 606
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Well, of course. Nico Rosberg - who, if he could replicate his practice form into real race-pace would be giving Jenson Button a real run for his money - produces a storming lap to rip up the time charts with a circuit of 1:28.952 and that's the 10th time in 19 practice sessions that the German has topped the leaderboard. Lewis Hamilton lies second, with compatriot Jenson Button down in 11th, Sebastian Vettel fourth, Felipe Massa fifth, Rubens Barrichello ninth and Mark Webber 15th. I think it's safe to say the leaderboard won't look like that come Sunday afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton posts a new fastest lap with a minute of the session remaining, the Briton ripping round in 1:29.263.
"I hope Jenson does win every race - sad to hear people already talking him down. Still we should expect Brits to knock success, we are good at that. Ross Brawn is fantastic, keep it going." Paul in Stratford via text on 81111
Well, TLTIPS (below) Jenson Button is currently ninth fastest - but the timings mean little at the moment because, with more and more rubber going down on the track, the timings are falling faster than a student's bank balance in fresher's week.
"Good to see there is some improvement in McLaren's pace, allowing Lewis to top the timings at present, but where is Jenson?"The Legend that is PhilSlocombe on 606
"BBC HQ sits in the TV compound just at the end of the pit straight, which means you can open the door and get, not only a blast of puttering engines, but also a good view across the final combination of turns. I've just been out watching the cars whizz past and I suppose it's stating the obvious to say the Ferraris, Red Bulls and Brawns were all looking pretty smooth. Lewis Hamilton put in a long stint for McLaren before returning to the pits, while Timo Glock was giving his Toyota a little wiggle each time he went through the final turn. His team are fairly bullish ahead of the weekend and are confident they can strike back after finishing out of the points in Monaco."BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park
BBC grab a quick chat with Brawn GP's Ross Brawn as the cars stream out onto the track following that red flag and, asked if he thinks his team's dominance is actually bad for the sport, he replies: "I don't know, it's not my fault!" Those sentiments were echoed by Jenson Button this morning, the Briton saying: "We are all here do the best job we can, and you have to say as a team we've done a better job than any other, and that's a fact. We are all here to win. I'm sorry if it gets boring if we win so many times, but it's the way it is."
"Practice started so early this morning that I'm sat at my computer in my pyjamas! I'm hoping for a good weekend for Renault."CorazonLatino on 606
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We're back under way - and it would appear the clock wasn't stopped - not sure why - so we have about 14 minutes left.
We have a red flag - no crash, though, it's a case of uplifted artifical turf on the exit of Turn One. Is that a first? So, with 17-odd minutes of the session remaining, Lewis Hamilton remains top of the charts ahead of Turkish GP king Felipe Massa. Shouldn't be a long delay, though.
Lewis Hamilton, encouragingly, is the fastest man on the track right now, having posted a lap of 1:29.319. Rubens Barrichello, practice king Nico Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel are also looking quick, but the likes of Sebastien Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais are positively snail-like in comparison, and they sit at the bottom of the time charts. By the way, if you're seeing 'Event info goes here' below, that's my fault. An error we can pretend never happened if you give this page a cheeky manual refresh, jubbly.
"The constantly evolving 2009 cars continue to do just that in Turkey. The latest round of technical updates see Brawn Grand Prix add a new front wing, a modified rear suspension and some aerodynamic updates to their front-running car. McLaren are trying out a fourth front wing and a new floor in Istanbul. BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica will both try out the double diffuser for the first time on Friday but neither of them will run with Kers. Fernando Alonso reckons the kinetic energy recovery system's power boost will be useful on the Istanbul circuit but his Renault team will weigh up the pros and cons during Friday practice before deciding whether to race with it this weekend."BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park
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Sebastian Vettel - who has out-qualified Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber in every race so far this season and yet has finished behind the Australian four times already - sets the fastest time of the session with a 1:29.7, only for Rubens Barrichello to rip round the circuit in an even quicker time. Robert Kubica, believe it or not, is moaning. But then, as my learned colleague points out, if you were as talented as Kubica is and you were driving the BMW in its current state, you'd probably be moaning too.
Moments after Massa's moan, the Brazilian posts the fastest time of the session so far with a 1:29.812 lap. The grip's clearly not that
Felipe Massa complains about the grip in his hard tyres - but Anthony Davidson on the red button
thinks it's "silly" to be moaning about the tyres right now. "They are not designed to work on this sort of track, they are designed to work on a track with rubber down - they will work to their maximum come race time. And, lest we forget, this is the same for everybody."
"With the restriction on the number of engines per season I reckon my Mondeo should be faster than McLaren by the time we get to Singapore! What are the odds Kovalainen runs out of engines altngether?"Andy in Birmingham via text on 81111
"BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie
reveals she had an unusual conversation with McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen after breakfast this morning. Apparently, the Finn was keen to discuss UK politics, saying, "everything's a mess isn't it?" Here is the lady herself with more on the weekend ahead: "Heikki also told me that he thinks it will be another tough weekend for McLaren because the car isn't good through high-speed corners. Felipe Massa famously said he owns this track and with Ferrari's resurgence and his confidence that could be the perfect combination this weekend - but I still think it will be a battle to beat Brawn and Jenson Button."BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park
Giancarlo Fisichella is the latest driver to spin off the track, with Heikki Kovalainen - just like Timo Glock - taking a spin on Turn Four. The Finn is the only man out on the track on soft tyres, by the way. Anyway - ever wondered what it might be like to take a circuit round Istanbul Park? Well stick your helmet on, flex your neck muscles and settle in for our guide to one of the most exciting tracks on the calendar.
Turkish Grand Prix circuit guide
All the drivers are struggling with grip amongst the dust at Istanbul Park and moments after Lewis Hamilton goes onto the grass, Toyota's Timo Glock spins out on Turn Four. It's all about finding the 'clean' parts of the track at the moment. Heikki Kovalainen is the fastest man on the board, with a lap time of 1:31.076 in his McLaren.
"A few weeks ago all eyes were on Nelson Piquet for all the wrong reasons. Speculation on his future seems to have died down recently, but surely his seat is still far from secure?"Anon via text on 81111
Lewis Hamilton is the first man to stick a time on the board in this sesson in his McLaren, and it's a just about passable 1:33.992. Not the best of conditions out there, though, with plenty of dust on the track, making grip all the more difficult to gain and the Briton struggles at times not to spin, slip and slide. This could take some time to clean up, this circuit.
Right then - hit the deck and cover your ears - it's Jenson Button stat attack time! The Briton, bidding for a sixth win out of seven this season, has the championship sewn up already if the history books are anything to go by - no driver has ever won five of the first six and not become champion. Button has now won six races in his career, a feat bettered by only nine of his countrymen, and if he secures victory at Istanbul Park on Sunday, he will be the first driver since Fernando Alonso in 2006 to win four straight races. The last British driver to win four successive races in a single season was Nigel Mansell in 1992 - Damon Hill won the last race of 1995 and first three of 1996. Oh yes, I've done my research people.
"This the weekend won't be over until the fat lady sings; remember that Ross Brawn is the ultimate strategist."Larry via text on 81111
With just over an hour left of practice, most of the teams are now making assessments and adjustments in the pits following their drivers' early runs. Plenty of people at Istanbul Park soaking up the sun and the atmosphere, but with not a soul out on the track at the moment, they are left staring at a vast expanse of empty road. Perfect time for them to get the ice creams in, I say.
"It's bumpy, you get blurred vision, it's a left-hander turn, and it's four turns in one, effectively. It's brilliant, yet brutal, Turn 8."Anthony Davidson on BBC's Red Button
"Why doesn't anyone refer to turn 8 as 'The Quadraplex' as it's the perfect name for one of the best corners on the race calendar!"Anon via text on 81111
"More political wrangling between F1's teams and governing body the FIA has upped the tension in the air in Turkey. FIA president Max Mosley is expected to send a letter to the teams today to fire his latest shot across the bows. Apparently these letters are actually letters signed by Mosley himself rather than emails as I had presumed in this electronic age. Toyota have said this morning that the threat of a breakaway series by the big teams could really happen but if Ferrari aren't racing in F1 next season then Felipe Massa already has a Plan B. "Maybe I will have a one-year holiday," said the Brazilian. "Or maybe I will drive in another championship but I really, really hope things will be OK"."BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Istanbul
Toyota pondering F1 alternatives
Sebastian Vettel takes to the track, meaning all the drivers have now made an appearance at Istanbul Park in this session, and that leads me nicely on to my (largely redundant) tip for the weekend. I'm backing Red Bull to make the most of the high speed corners here to return to the podium with a bang - a one-two for them, says me. Ferrari - with the only two drivers to have ever won here (see 0740) - should impress too, meaning the ever-dominant Brawn GPs might not have everything their way this weekend. As always, I must warn you, though, that financial backing of any of my predictions will most likely leave you penniless and miserable. You have been warned. Why not check out Jonathan Legard's thoughts instead? It's probably best for all concerned, let's be honest.
Legard's Turkish Grand Prix preview
"Who's your money on this weekend Sam? I just want someone other than Button or a Brawn to win. The championship needs it!"Ross in Cardiff via text on 81111
Plenty of good chat on the Red Button
from David Croft and Anthony Davidson on the Kers system - BMW are running without it this weekend, while Renault appear to be undecided. Out on the track, Lewis Hamilton is out and about in his McLaren, as is Rubens Barrichello, while Jenson Button waits - much like a prowling lion - in the pits. The suspicion is that the Championship-leading Briton might find things a little trickier this weekend - more on that later...
"Should be a close one this weekend if Ferrari and Red Bull can take the fight to the front of the grid."Adie in Poole via text on 81111
We are under way folks. Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica are first out in their BMWs - Lord knows they need all the preparation time they can get after the start they've had to the season.
With first practice quite literally three minutes away, I can report that 20 miles east of Bosphorus - where this delightful track resides - is bathed in glorious sunshine. The storms of earlier in the week appear to have passed, for now at least, and the forecast is for a hot, dry weekend.
Weather forecast for Istanbul Park
And if you've been with me from the beginning this morning enjoying the delights of the auto-refresh system, give your page a cheeky manual refresh and the live video of this morning's practice session will magically appear. Modern technology huh? It really is a wonder.
Oh, and slap on the wrists for me for not mentioning it earlier, but with 606 closed until 0900 BST, it is left to you to text
me on 81111
for the next hour or so. Lend me your thoughts and I can make you web famous for 15 minutes. Nice.
Now then, where are we in the world of Formula 1 news? Well, before we get stuck into the day's actual
racing - you know that 'entente cordial' that appeared to have been struck between Max Mosley and Fota over the budget cap row? Yeah, well, that can of worms remains firmly open. Mosley, it would appear, is intent on sticking to his guns, and has even suggested the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Brawn GP go off and form their own championship outside of F1 if they refuse to bow to his demands. It never gets dull this sport does it?
Mosley makes stand on new rules
Storm clouds gather over F1
"Welcome to Europe - hang on, AND Asia - and hello from the continent-straddling country of Turkey for the seventh Grand Prix of the season. This morning we got up early to cross the Bosphorus Bridge over the shimmering blue waters of the Istanbul strait, travelling through the city dotted with reaching mosque towers and apartment blocks to make our way to Istanbul Park on the Asian side of the city. Home to the Turkish Grand Prix since it was added to the calendar in 2005 only two drivers have won here - Felipe Massa (three times for Ferrari) and Kimi Raikkonen (for McLaren in 2005). Can 2009's five-time winner Jenson Button add his name to that elite list this season? The first clues will be gathered in first practice at 0800 BST."BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Istanbul
Hello, good morning and welcome - as David Frost might once have said - to Friday practice of the Turkish Grand Prix. Or, as it should really be known, Friday practice of the Felipe Massa Grand Prix in Turkey. He's won here three years running don't you know. Is he the man, is this the weekend, is this the race, that finally stops the Jenson Button juggernaut towards the drivers' title? Hold onto your helmets people, things could just be about to get interesting...