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Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 14:03 UK

Kovalainen tops Turkey practice

Venue: Istanbul Park Dates: 5-7 June 2009 Coverage: Comprehensive live coverage of Friday's practice sessions, Saturday qualifying and the race on Sunday across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find complete listings here

Heikki Kovalainen

Highlights - Kovalainen fastest in Turkey

By Sean Chaney

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen topped the timesheets in Friday's second practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Kovalainen's one minute 28.841 second lap in the second session beat Fernando Alonso of Renault by just 0.006secs.

Championship leader Jenson Button was 12th in his Brawn - one place ahead of world champion Lewis Hamilton, who said he was hoping to qualify in the top 10.

Williams's Nico Rosberg was fastest in the morning as the day's running gave little indication of form for the race.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, whose team are tipped for a strong showing, stopped on the track after just four laps of the second session with a suspected driveshaft failure.

I am not necessarily saying we have the speed of the other top guys, but we are getting closer I think - we may have the pace to be in the top 10 this weekend

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton

The dusty conditions at the Istanbul Park track posed problems throughout the day.

"It was quite a difficult Friday for everybody, because the track conditions are always very slippy here in Turkey" said Alonso.

"We saw people going off the track quite often, it was really difficult. Today was quite windy so that was a big thing for everybody, the wind coming into Turn One was a disaster."

Hamilton was one of several drivers to spin - the world champion losing control of his car twice in quick succession as he explored the limits of grip.

"You are not pushing hard enough if you don't spin, that's what some people say," said Hamilton afterwards.

"It went quite well today, I was quite surprised with the pace of the car today I think we have definitely got better pace here than we anticipated."


Renault's Alonso, Ferrari's Felipe Massa, and Williams' Kazuki Nakajima, who finished fourth fastest, were just three of 10 drivers to experience off-track moments in the second session.

There was better news for Robert Kubica whose revamped BMW Sauber, complete with new double-decker diffuser, was third fastest in the second session to give the Polish driver his best practice result of the season.

Championship leader Jenson Button was far from happy with the balance of his car and admitted that his Brawn had struggled for grip.

"The problem is the oversteer that I have got. It's twitchy, very twitchy and you just don't know when the oversteer is going to come.

Jenson Button was unhappy with the balance of his Brawn in Turkey
Jenson Button was unhappy with the balance of his Brawn in Turkey

"I am struggling with rear grip in some places, front grip in others and the car is hopping quite a lot in certain parts of the circuit - I can't do two laps the same at the moment.

"I think we will find a better set-up tomorrow, but I don't know how good yet. I believe in the guys and I think we are all going to work very long hours tonight to improve the balance. It's a quick car, and it should work here, we have just got to find the speed in it."

The morning's first practice session was briefly brought to a halt by the red flag when the artificial turf at the front of the run off area at the exit to Turn One was damaged as several cars ran off line.

Friday practice is rarely a reliable yardstick of race pace and most teams use the opportunity to tweak their cars and assess any adjustments they have made.

BMW Sauber in particular will be hoping that their new double-decker diffuser can improve their fortunes as the Swiss-based team look to bounce back from their worst-ever start to a Formula 1 season.

Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld will rely on gains from the diffuser and tweaked aerodynamic package to offset any pace lost by the team's decision not to run the Kers, energy recovery system's power boost.

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg keeps options open

Red Bull are aiming to bed in their double-decker diffuser, which debuted in Monaco, but should be far more suited to the faster corners and smoother lines of the Turkish circuit.

The diffuser is an an aerodynamic part at the rear of the car and the split-level design is thought to give an advantage of as much as 0.5 seconds per lap.

Championship leaders Brawn Grand Prix continue to develop their car by adding a new front wing, a modified rear suspension and some aerodynamic updates as they seek their sixth win in the seventh race of the season.

McLaren are trying out a fourth front wing and a new floor in Istanbul, while Ferrari will be hoping to build on their impressive progress in Monaco.

The Ferrari duo of Raikkonen and Massa have won all four Turkish Grand Prix between them, with Raikkonen's win for McLaren in the inaugural race in 2005 preceding Massa's hat-trick of victories for Ferrari.

Sunday's race will be the fifth Turkish Grand Prix and the man on pole has won each of the four previous meetings.

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see also
Turkish Grand Prix practice results
03 Jun 09 |  Results
Hamilton buoyed by McLaren pace
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Legal settlement saves British GP
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Turkey GP practice as it happened
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Turkish GP practice photos
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Briatore calms F1 walk-out threat
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Championship already over - Massa
04 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Zoom into the Turkey Grand Prix track
04 Jun 09 |  Formula 1

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