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Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Saturday, 6 June 2009 13:22 UK

Turkish GP qualifying as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

1320: Well well well, another sensational qualifying session down and another tremendous race in prospect. Sebastian Vettel will top the grid come 1300 BST on Sunday, but with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello potentially fuelled a couple of laps heavier, it should be all to race for at Istanbul Park - and that's before you even mention the Ferraris and Jarno Trulli's Toyota. I'll be back to cover all the action from 1200 BST tomorrow and it would absolutely make my day if you were there to join me. Lovely.

"This could be a really magical race. I suspect Red Bull are one or two stops shorter than Brawn GP which, on the face of it would seem to give the advantage to Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, but it's all about how the teams work on the day. It's all set up for a really tremendous race."
David Coulthard on BBC One

"This could be a major, titanic battle tomorrow - we have all the main protagonists at the front and finally we could see a straight shoot-out between the fastest cars on the grid."
Eddie Jordan on BBC One

"Everything is so close. But I have a good car and am feeling happy."
Rubens Barrichello on BBC One

"We made some changes to the set-up overnight and, as the wind calmed down, the car worked a lot better. I got to grips with the car as the day drew on and it's good to be on the front row."
Jenson Button on BBC One

"Even after my engine problems yesterday, I was confident we could do something today. The last couple of races have not gone our way but finally we are ahead of the white-car guys!"
Sebastian Vettel on BBC One

1307: By the way, a quick note - if you want to see the drivers' post-qualifying news conference in full, select the 5 Live option above. Nice one.

"Obviously we would've liked pole position, but it will be interesting to see what the fuel loads are. If early season form is anything to go by, the Red Bulls are lighter than we are but we will have to see. We're on lap 17 - if Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are longer than that they have a strategic advantage, if not we do."
Brawn GP owner Ross Brawn

1302: What drama - Mark Webber thinks he's got pole, only to be pushed down by a tremendous flying lap from Jenson Button. It looks like another remarkable PP for the Briton, until Sebastian Vettel rips up a stunning circuit of 1:28.316. Rubens Barrichello, amidst all that, secures third on the grid, with Jarno Trulli fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica complete the top 10 - what a qualifying session.


1259: Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa are making their dashes in a bid to overhaul Sebastian Vettel...

1257: Remember, the winner of this Grand Prix has always come from pole position - and with two minutes to go and it's Sebastian Vettel from Jarno Trulli from Jenson Button. Felipe Massa down in seventh.

1255: Sebastian Vettel sets a new mark with a 1:28.801.

1254: Kimi Raikkonen posts the early pace-setter, but Jarno Trulli trims over half a second off it with a 1:28.858. Jenson Button and Mark Webber already looking impressive, though.

"Looks like its going to be a scrap between the Red Bulls, Toyotas and Brawns. BMW are looking pretty good too - looks like they've made some major changes."
dyrewolfe on 606
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1251: It comes down to this, then, as Q3 gets started.

"Welcome to my world. It's the car, it just got slower and slower throughout the weekend as the track has got hotter. It looked great yesterday but this morning it didn't look fantastic. I don't think we should rush anything [such as upgrades]. It's better that we take our time to refine it. It's not like we can claw back 60 points [in the championship]. We will bounce back next year."
Lewis Hamilton on BBC One

1248: More on Lewis Hamilton from Eddie Jordan on BBC One: "The car is quite simply hopeless. Possibly the worst McLaren have ever designed." Brutal, but possibly fair.

1245: Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg save themselves at the very last with a couple of flying laps, meaning Nick Heidfeld, Kazuki Nakajima, Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen and Adrian Sutil are out. Sebastian Vettel tops the charts with a late, late flying lap of 1:27.016 but a mere 0.4 seconds separate the top 10 - nice.

1239: Two minutes to go and Red Bull's Mark Webber, down in 15th, is about to launch himself.

1236: With five minutes to go, Heikki Kovalainen, Adrian Sutil, Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld and, surprisingly, Mark Webber are bottom five. I promise you that will change.

"Jenson Button drives like a chauffeur, he's so smooth," exclaims Martin Brundle on BBC One as the Briton goes fastest with a 1:27.322.

1233: Rubens Barrichello is now the fastest man on the track with a 1:27.418.

1232: Nico Rosberg is the first to get a time on the board in Q2 with a 1:27.672, but Felipe Massa almost immediately usurps him with a 1:27.462.

1230: With Q2 under way, BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz tells BBC One that McLaren have a wide range of big technical improvements planned for the German GP - and Martin Whitmarsh is even pressing to get those changes into the car before that at Silverstone. Oh how Lewis Hamilton needs them.

"There is only so much you can do with a car like the McLaren. Hamilton is an amazingly talented driver when he has a decent car underneath him but his McLaren is so far behind the others in terms of balance and speed that the title is already gone and he will be lucky to make top five at the end of the season."
Scubar2k8 on 606
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"McLaren and Lewis Hamilton have no confidence in the car. They know it is not worthy of a McLaren and they face big problems because a lot of people will be looking for a big performance from the Briton at Silverstone - and as it stands, he won't be able to provide one in that car."
Eddie Jordan on BBC One

"Lewis Hamilton just looked very nervous about his rear end, especially through Turn Eight, and it was so unstable for him. It didn't work for him at all and it's a shame because this time last year he was charging through those corners. What a difference a year makes."
David Coulthard on BBC One

1221: He's gone! Lewis Hamilton, suffering a huge amount of oversteer and losing the back-end of the car around Turn Eight in particular, is out after Q1. Nelson Piquet Jr, Sebastien Buemi, Giancarlo Fisichella and Sebastien Bourdais also drop out. Sebastian Vettel, from Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Mark Webber, tops the charts.

1218: Oh dear - Lewis Hamilton's first flying lap is a bit of a horror and he stays in the bottom five. He'll have one more lap to salvage something...

1216: Lewis Hamilton is making his way out of the pits - he is in the drop-out zone at the moment with a lot of work to do. And shock! Nelson Piquet Jr spins at Turn One! Who would've thought?!

1215: Just a reminder that Felipe Massa secured pole position here last season with a lap of 1:27.617 - Sebastian Vettel, who tops the charts at the moment, already has a 1:27.330 in the bag in Q1.

1213: So, those bang in trouble towards the bottom of the pile right now include Lewis Hamilton, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica - among a few of the usual suspects. Seven minutes to go, though.

1212: Lewis Hamilton, by the way, sits in 13th at the moment - not the best of signs for the reigning world champion.

1211: The names at the top of the timings are changing by the second out there, with the Red Bulls, Toyotas, Brawn GPs, Ferraris and Williams the most impressive at the moment.

1207: Jarno Trulli - one of my colleague's tips for pole - briefly tops the timings, but Felipe Massa snatches back top spot on his his first flying lap. The Williams and Red Bulls are looking good, though...

1205: Kimi Raikkonen and the two Toyotas are among those now out on the track, but Felipe Massa, the Brawns and the Red Bulls await in the pits. Adrian Sutil is top of the time charts with a 1:29.393.

1202: Giancarlo Fisichella posts the first time of the session with a 1:30.004 in his Force India. If that's good enough for pole position, I'll eat my pants.

1200: Q1 is under way and, as always, Giancarlo Fisichella is among the first men out on the track.

"This is going to be a tense qualifying session - and in many ways similar to Monaco GP, I think. I reckon we could see some big names drop out early on, perhaps even in Q1, and then there will be a mad rush in Q3. It's a hard one to call."
Martin Brundle on BBC One

"RE: 1147 - I think my fitness would improve greatly in that gym! Hamilton could be my personal trainer any day!"
Kelly, Gosport via text on 81111

1155: Right, with five minutes to go until Q1 gets under way, it's time for me give you one of my now infamous and notoriously rubbish predictions. I'm going for Button on pole, with Massa-Barrichello-Webber-Glock to follow in that order.

"Button on pole, followed by the Red Bulls and Renaults, with Lewis in the mix as well hopefully! I also had a weird dream that both Force India's are going to finish in the top 6 tomorrow so they might have a good qualifying session as well..."
tomgriff22 on 606
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1147: That's quality. Jake Humphrey has just been schooled in Formula 1 gym practices by Lewis Hamilton. The BBC man held his own, to be fair, but it looked so tough it's ridiculous to me. That said, my fitness levels resemble those of a geriatic sloth so I'm perhaps not the best man to comment.

"The drivers have been talking about adjusting both physically and mentally to racing around Turkey's anti-clockwise circuit, where the left-handers really test their neck muscles and reactions. But the rest of the team have to readjust their thinking too. Because the track is anti-clockwise the fuel has to go in on the opposite side of the car so the teams have to switch the tank and the hole in the car's body-work to the other side. It's probably stating the obvious but I like that fact A LOT. So keep your eyes on the pits crews during qualifying as they prepare to do things the other way round."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park

"45 euros a ticket and still empty... I paid £175 for my Silverstone ticket and its gonna be a sell out. Where are all the Turkish fans????"
mark5115 on 606
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1136: Nelson Piquet Jr - a man feeling the heat more than a bbq'd sausage in summer - gives a little insight into his thoughts and life to Lee McKenzie on BBC One, as well as a tour of his ocean-view apartment (it's a hard life). He strikes me as defiant and determined to prove his early-season form is not a true reflection of his true ability, and fair play to the lad. He out-paced Fernando Alonso in final practice this morning, lest we forget - is this his time to shine?

1130: Flavio Briatore - the man to unify and lead the teams towards peace with the sport's governing body the FIA, says Eddie Jordan - tells BBC Sport of the current dispute: "There is a lot of exaggeration, as always with Formula 1. I think we can find a way to compromise, we want to work with the federation, we want to stay in Formula 1 and I hope we can find a way. We will find a way."

1128: Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard are strolling around the pits - I love these bits - and they grab an amusing word with Giancarlo Fisichella, who has crashed on the first corner here three years running. "It's a tough corner for me!" he laughs.

From BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park: "The Turkish Grand Prix tends to attract a bit of criticism because of the lack of fans and atmosphere in Istanbul. The grandstand isn't full today - despite tickets costing just 45 euros this weekend - and some of the temporary stands have been covered over with green-grey tarpaulin to disguise them when the cameras zoom past. But all that means that the crowds who do make the effort to be here are by and large true F1 fans.

Ayrton Senna fans
"I bumped into this colourful bunch of Estonian F1 fans (that's what is said on the back of their T-shirts). They come to two races per season - Turkey and Hungary - and because they all support different drivers on the 2009 grid, they have decided to pledge their team support to Ayrton Senna, 'because we all like him'."

1121: Another big question, of course, this weekend continues to surround the 2010 season and the future of Formula 1. Who will be competing, under what conditions, what will the regulations and/or the budget cap be, and who is going to win the power struggle? Suffice to say, it wouldn't be F1 if the dirty laundry wasn't done in public...
Briatore calms F1 walk-out threat

1117: The big question coming into this weekend was; can anyone catch Brawn GP and Jenson Button? Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard are, it is safe to say, sceptical. The pair both cite the lack of consistency in the teams challenging the Brawns. "Red Bull look impressive," says Jordan, while Coulthard adds: "Ferrari look like they could be on the front row here with Felipe Massa". However, neither can see past Brawn GP topping the constructors' championship come 2 November, which is more than understandable, it has to be said.

"I reckon Fernando Alonso can be in the top 10, but I'm not sure who'll get pole - I'll guess at Massa. And I'm glad there's no-one else at home to see me rocking along like a lunatic to 'The Chain'!"
CorazonLatino on 606
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1110: We are live with Jake Humphrey and the team on BBC One people - get your air guitars out. By the way, given BoingBoing's pledge below, I can inform you all I shall be cheering Fernando Alonso on come 1200 BST. I know you'll understand - the housing market may not be what it once was but who am I to turn down a free house?!

"I will give you my house if Fernando Alonso puts it on pole today."
BoingBoingWBA1 on 606

"The perfect scenario; Toyota qualify first and second, with the Brawns, Red Bull and Massa having to pass them in the race - that will make it a bit exciting."
pompeydrew on 606
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1105: You know, this might go down as one of the most hotly-contested qualifying sessions of the season if final practice is anything to go by. You could barely slip a sheet of toilet paper between all 20 drivers at the end of this morning's session, and Ferrari, Brawn GP, Red Bull, Toyota, McLaren, Williams and, dare I say it, Renault and BMW Sauber as well, will all have designs on making Q3 and grabbing a spot near - or at - the front of the grid. After an early-season dominated by Brawn GP and Jenson Button, are things about to get just a little bit competitive?

"Fernando Alonso revealed to us just what a master sandbagger he is in final practice today."
left_toe_lace_ups on 606
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1100: Only four drivers - all of them F1 legends - have won four successive races at the same venue. Can Felipe Massa take a huge step towards joining the pantheon of greats that is Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher by snatching pole position at Istanbul Park today? We will find out in approximately two of your English hours.

1015: Well that's cleared up, erm, nothing at all then hasn't it? No great surprise to see 'Turkey King' Felipe Massa at the top of the timings, but the fact that Fernando Alonso is down in 19th tells us just how small the margins are between the fastest and the slowest cars at Istanbul Park - and I'm still expecting more from Brawn GP and Red Bull, in particular. One thing's for sure - I won't be beating a path to my local bookies to throw away this week's pocket money. I'll be back in 45 minutes or so for qualifying - do not miss it folks.

"If Jenson Button fell out of the points that would make it more interesting - and the most exciting prospect would be if Massa and Hamilton were the men to get the top points!"
roakey on 606
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1005: Holly Samos is tipping Felipe Massa for pole, David Croft reckons it'll be Massa or Mark Webber, and Anthony Davidson refuses point blank to give a prediction. Booo! Where's your money?

1002: Felipe Massa holds off the chasing pack to top final practice with a lap of 1:27.983, with Toyota pair Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock making a dash to finish in second and third. Just 0.4 seconds separate the top 10, though and Alonso, by the way, who finishes 19th, is only 1.2 seconds off the fastest lap. It is tighter than my brother's wallet come last orders and it looks like it is anyone's to play for come qualifying. How do you call this one?

0958: As Toyota's Timo Glock spins off coming into Turn One, a word on Fernando Alonso who is languishing down in last place in his Renault. What's going on there?

0957: Brawn GP pair Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button look to be showing their true hand a bit as they leap up the time-charts, and the laps appear to be getting quicker and quicker with the increased grip out on the track now.

0954: With about five minutes remaining in this final practice session, it is still so hard to call who will snatch pole. Red Bull look tremendous through the first two sectors but struggle in the third, Brawn GP pretty much the opposite, Ferrari - and Felipe Massa in particular - effectively 'own' this track, McLaren continue to throw in the odd glimpse of decent pace and, on top of all that, Williams pair Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajmia sit third and fourth right now. Shall we just throw the names in a hat and see what we draw?

"I was up in the paddock super early this Saturday to accept an invitation by Shell to take a quick glimpse behind the scenes at the Ferrari garage. It was 0900 Turkish time and the thoroughfare of the paddock may have been pretty deserted but there was plenty of action in the pit lane. Ferrari, McLaren and Renault's pit crews were out practising pit-stops with all the different variables like fitting wet tyres and filling the tanks up for short and long fuel runs. On the Ferrari pit wall chief track engineer Chris Dyer was overseeing the whole operation. Apparently, the teams and crews go though this routine 15 or 20 times, every race weekend. We've seen in the past pit-stop errors having a huge effect on the outcome of the race - think Felipe Massa leaving the pits with his fuel hose attached in Singapore last season - so you can see why practice makes perfect."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt at Istanbul Park

"Formula 1 is of course an unknown - it's all a bit cat-and-mouse out there - but McLaren look to me to be the fourth fastest team."
Anthony Davidson on the red button

0947: Jenson Button reports to his Brawn GP engineers that he is still picking up understeer, possibly explaining why he has run wide on Turn One a couple of times today.

0945: That's the first time we've heard about the Kers today and McLaren - who are the only team to be employing it this weekend alongside Ferrari - tell Briton Lewis Hamilton that the optimum time to use the power-boost system is "everything coming out of Turn Nine", which is up the hill. Anthony Davidson says that could return the equivalent of three- or fourth-10ths on their rivals. Blimey.
Turkish GP circuit guide

0941: So, what of the Red Bulls? Well Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are not exactly pulling up trees, sitting as they are ninth and 10th respectively, but they are getting quicker by the minute... watch this space, I reckon.

"In ideal circumstances, you'd want to do this race on a two-stop strategy. However, if the graining on the tyres is as bad as it was yesterday, that just might not be an option. Conversely, some of the slower teams - the likes of Force India, for example - could benefit from a one-stopper because they know, realistically, they won't be pushing for the win anyway. This is where the strategists earn their corn."
Anthony Davidson on the red button

0935: Felipe Massa storms to a cracking lap and he's now fastest with a time of 1:28.253 in his Ferrari - the Brazilian really does love Turkey... even more than Bernard Matthews.

"RE: 0923: Kovalainen might be pushing too hard in order to turn round a disappointing season but it is supplying useful data for Lewis. The track is now getting cleaner and rubbered in so time should come down further. It's going to be a good qualifying session!"
The Legend that is PhilSlocombe on 606
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0930: Jenson Button looks a whole lot more comfortable today and he's up into third on the time charts - Anthony Davidson comments that a "smooth" drive will reward teams this weekend, as opposed to attacking every corner, and that might just play into the Brawn GP driver's hands this weekend.

0926: Rubens Barrichello, ominously if you're not a Brawn GP fan, tops the charts with a lap of 1:28.514, with the likes of Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Jenson Button all in the top 10 already. The ills of Friday practice really do appear to have given little clue to these teams' true pace.

0923: The menace of Turn 8 strikes Heikki Kovalainen as the Finn twice goes off the track in his McLaren going through what one reader has wonderfully labelled the "Quadruplex". That turn will ensnare many a victim on Sunday too, I'll wager.

"Brawn keep changing from their old front wing to the new one. This gives me the feeling that the new one may not be working as expected..."
Rob_F1 on 606
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0921: Kazuki Nakajima, Robert Kubica, Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella all have times on the board now - the likes of Red Bull and McLaren continue to keep their powder dry.

"These times are already faster than any of the guys did yesterday. It's less windy today, cooler on the track, and the grip is improving by the minute - we're looking at an improvement of three-10ths per lap and there's still 40 minutes left in the session."
Anthony Davidson on the red button

0915: Still the odd grip problem showing itself at Istanbul Park, with Timo Glock the latest driver to take a bit of a wobble in his Toyota. Jarno Trulli, BBC text commentary favourite Adrian Sutil and Glock trail Felipe Massa's top time of 1:29.046 at the moment.

0913: As Holly Samos reports that, as she understands it, most of the drivers will use the hard tyres in qualifying - despite the grip problems we saw on those yesterday - Felipe Massa sticks the first time on the charts with a lap of 1:30.238. The Ferrari driver has nailed pole here three years running and won here three years running.

"It will be interesting if Brawn struggle again today after yesterday, both drivers saying they were unhappy with their set-up."
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0909: Kimi Raikkonen looks like he'll be the first man out on a proper lap in his Ferrari, but he's in after one circuit and it's a case of look-see in the majority of the pits right now.

0905: Everyone's out and then back in again following their installation lap and, before the real racing begins, now seems as good a time as any for you to check out BBC commentator Jonathan Legard's predictions. No Brawn GP domination for him, which may surprise you? And Sunil, below, no - I think it's a genius idea. If you can get a friend/relative/housemate to furnish you with an endless supply of tea and biscuits as well, you've got yourself a par-tay.
Legard's Turkish GP predictions

"Sam, is it bad that I want to stay in bed, watch F1, then watch England and cricket all day, and only stop for toilet breaks?"
Sunil via text on 81111

0900: Final practice gets under way, in front of little more than a smattering of spectators. The teams have an hour to hone their set-ups ahead of qualifying and, no surprise there, Sebastian Vettel is one of the first men out on the track in his Red Bull.

0858: Lest we forget, those teams expected to impress this weekend - Brawn GP, Red Bull, Ferrari - all limped through practice on Friday to a fair degree. Nico 'The Practice King' Rosberg again shone in his Williams, BMW Sauber finally rewarded Robert Kubica's brilliance with some sort of half decent automobile, while McLaren were pleasantly surprised by their pace, with Heikki Kovalainen topping second practice. No-one knows better than Rosberg, though, that quite often practice has little bearing on the race, so it's pretty much as you were moments from the start of final practice.
Hamilton buoyed by McLaren pace

0853: There appears to be an air of resignation among many of the drivers about Brawn GP's race pace, don't you think? Ferrari's Felipe Massa declared the championship "over" earlier in the week following Jenson Button's sensational start to the season, and now - despite their poor performance in Friday practice - Brawn GP remain very much the team to beat, says Renault driver Fernando Alonso. "It's the best car, there is no doubt," said the Spaniard on Friday. "They are the best in every area, so that's quite impressive. I think Brawn is not even pushing 100 per cent through all the race." Ominous.

"I don't know any Turkish but I do know the best kebab I ever had was in Istanbul after a rather bizarre night in an Irish bar listening to two bagpipers and a drummer doing ACDC! And it only cost half a million Lira - about 50p! Good times."
Chris the drummer via text on 81111

"I have some news from Red Bull. The team have had to change the engine on Sebastian Vettel's car for the final practice session this morning. Vettel only managed to complete three full laps on Friday afternoon before he pulled over complaining of engine vibrations. Clearly, they were not the good variety because when he got the car back to the garage his team found a massive hole in the engine. Red Bull are very confident about their chances in qualifying, however. Probably because despite not getting much running on the track, Vettel still managed to finish fifth in the timesheets."
BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie

0842: Don't forget to lend me your thoughts on all things Formula 1 via text on 81111 or, if you can wait just 18 minutes for its doors to open, via 606. Why not take the opportunity to tell me how a Saturday morning lie-in - one of life's true pleasures - is only bettered when you get to watch Formula 1 via the red button or on this very website? Happy days.
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0840: So, what can we expect from today's racing? Well, depending on who you believe, Brawn GP are either going to continue to dominate proceedings with all the ruthless efficiency of the Monty Python Spanish inquisition, or this is the weekend that finally sees the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari step up and make things just a little more competitive. Where's your money, folks?

0830: Hos geldiniz! Tanistigimiza memnum oldum. That's right people, yesterday I was hot on stats, today I'm hot (ish) on the Turkish language. Are you ready for what promises to be another intriguing day's racing at Istanbul Park? Final practice gets started at 0900 BST ahead of qualifying at 1200 BST, and I'll be here to chat rubbish to you through it all. Now then, tuvalet nerede acaba?
Turkish essential phrases

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see also
Turkish Grand Prix practice results
03 Jun 09 |  Results
Vettel beats Button to grab pole
06 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Turkish GP qualifying photos
06 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Kovalainen tops Turkey practice
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
Classy Button eases to Monaco win
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 on the BBC
01 Dec 11 |  Formula 1

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