Vettel poles apart as he equals Hakkinen`s feat
Istanbul: Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel bounced back from his crash in practice on Friday to claim pole position in an all Red Bull front row on Saturday for Sunday`s Turkish Grand Prix.
His fourth successive pole position from the opening four races of the season was the first time this feat had been achieved since Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen in 1999.
The 23-year-old German drove his Red Bull car, dubbed `Kinky Kylie` with great conviction despite his damaging experience the previous day, to clock an outstanding lap time of one minute and 25.049 seconds.
He clocked his lap on his first run in the top-ten shootout, the third Q3 part of qualifying, and then saved his tyres by not going out again such was his supreme confidence for the 19th pole of his remarkable career.
He was also, stunningly, four-tenths of a second ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber, who also chose to run only once in Q3, leaving both men with a spare set of tyres for the race.
Afterwards Vettel was quick to apologise to - and then praise - his team`s mechanics for the work they did in rebuilding his machine overnight.
"Apologies to the team and the mechanics," said Vettel. "Obviously I damaged the car yesterday and couldn`t run in the afternoon and they did such a good job fixing it.”
"We have been good since this morning and I am happy with this result. I have not had a completely trouble-free day, but I like this track and that helps. I found a good rhythm.”
"It was funny that Mark and myself both decided to skip the second run in Q3 because it is so strange to see the others on the track and we are watching knowing they can beat us."
Webber, who produced a superb drive in the previous Grand Prix to come from 18th on the grid to finish third, admitted he had taken a risk in not going out again.
"Seb did such a great lap for pole, but I had more to lose not going out," said Webber.
"But it is going to be a long race tomorrow but we are in the best positions and with tyres, too, we are in good shape. Good decisions by the team and I am happy." German Nico Rosberg was third fastest for the improved Mercedes team, just pipping McLaren`s Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion and winner of the last Grand Prix, while two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was fifth fastest.
Rosberg, son of Finland`s former world champion Keke, said that he was looking forward to Sunday`s race. "It is really great for us to be here, to be third and I have also managed to save a set of tyres so we are feeling positive for the race."
Hamilton said that whilst they would start from what he believes is the disadvantageous side of the grid he held out hopes of an impressive showing.
"I think we have always been on the dirty side of the grid, every time we come here - but I am still really looking forwards to the race here. It is a long one and a lot can happen."
The session was run in warm, dry conditions under a near-cloudless blue sky and amid rumours that intensified this weekend suggesting that this is the sixth and last Turkish Grand Prix due to lack of spectators and support.