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Red Bull's Mark Webber claims pole for Turkish GP

Mark Webber celebrates taking pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix

Highlights - Turkish GP qualifying

By Ian Hughes

Mark Webber blitzed the field to qualify in pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix and maintain Red Bull's 100% record this season.

The Australian lapped the Istanbul Park circuit in one minute 26.295 seconds to secure his place at the front of the grid for the third consecutive race.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton outpaced Webber's team-mate Sebastian Vettel to split the Red Bulls and qualify second.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished in an unexpectedly poor 12th place.

In making it three pole positions in a row, Webber became the first Australian to achieve the feat since Sir Jack Brabham in 1960 - and the first driver in Formula 1 since Ferrari's Felipe Massa three years ago.

Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel

Turkish GP qualifying - Top three drivers

However, the championship leader was not as dominant as he might have been and he edged out Hamilton by only 0.138secs.

Webber admitted: "It hasn't been the smoothest of weekends for us in terms of getting the running in.

"Getting ready for qually, things started to get a little bit better. I was little bit on the back foot going in to be honest but I knew if I dug deep it could be OK. And it worked out for us."

Defending champion Jenson Button was fourth in his McLaren, ahead of Mercedes' Michael Schumacher.

Nico Rosberg was sixth in the other Mercedes, with Pole Robert Kubica of Renault seventh and Massa eighth for Ferrari.

Ferrari suffered a poor qualifying and it was not the way they would want to prepare for their 800th Formula 1 world championship race.

JONATHAN LEGARD BLOG

It was a particularly bad day for Alonso, who appeared to make an error when his wheel touched a white line under braking and his car wobbled.

He failed to qualify for the top 10 shoot-out, but he later said he did not think his mistake cost him.

"I pushed very hard in that lap," said the Spaniard. "Anyway I was slower than my fastest lap. I knew it was not enough.

"I don't think that moment cost me a place in Q3. I did three laps in mainly in the same time and I think the pace was not there."

Fernando Alonso

Alonso calm despite qualifying 12th

Third-placed Vettel was also less than happy with his performance and his car after he suffered a roll-bar failure in the final part of qualifying.

The German, who is level on points with Webber but behind his team-mate because he has won fewer races, said: "I locked the inside wheel very easily, the car didn't seem to stop it just went straight," he said.

"When I hit the brakes I just went straight, I lost the ability to stop the car. It didn't do what it was supposed to do, so obviously I lost a lot of time."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that the problem cost Vettel more than half a second a lap.

In contrast, Hamilton was delighted with his McLaren and hinted that he feels he has a good chance of securing his first race win of the season on Sunday.

Although he shredded his tyres in final practice after skidding off at the tricky Turn Eight but got everything right when it mattered.

"I think on full fuel it will be a little bit closer," said the Briton after his team's best qualifying performance of the season.

"Red Bull have been pretty much untouchable all year in terms of pace, so it's a real boost for my team to know we have a great baseline pace - and our race pace is even better.

"I'm happy with the balance of the car and we have a good opportunity tomorrow."



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see also
Hamilton eyes first win of season
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari will bounce back - Alonso
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher pleased with progress
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
Senna lifted by Hispania progress
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
Turkish GP qualifying as it happened
29 May 10 |  Formula 1
Turkish Grand Prix qualifying results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
We can race Red Bull, say McLaren
28 May 10 |  Formula 1


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