Vettel leads the pack in Turkey

Despite the new haircut, Sebastian Vettel continues to dominate F1 with his fifth pole in succession

    Red Bull showed no sign of slowing down on the new Pirelli tyres in Turkey [GALLO/GETTY]

    Sebastian Vettel remains unstoppable in F1 qualifying this year after recording a time almost half a second faster than his rivals on Saturday in Turkey.

    Red Bull swept the front row with Sebastian Vettel on pole and teammate Mark Webber right behind him.

    Vettel was so comfortable with his time that he was parked up in the garage and out of the car with a minute of the final session still to run. A shorter-haired Vettel dominated Friday’s session with his fastest time of one minute 25.049 seconds, 0.405 quicker than Webber.

    Bad memories

    It was Red Bull's third Turkish pole in a row and, in a race that has always been won by a driver starting from the first two places, left the champions with high hopes of being third time lucky - providing they stay clear of each other.

    Vettel and Webber, who was on pole in 2010, were heading for a one-two last year when they collided while fighting for the lead, handing a one-two to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button instead.

    "I am very happy and very pleased after the bad shunt yesterday and the work load I managed to give to all the mechanics," grinned Vettel, who missed Friday's second practice after crashing heavily in the morning.

    "It was a pretty big hit. They did a very good job and I had a fantastic car today."

    The German showed he had also learned a lesson from the last Chinese Grand Prix by not going out for a final lap and saving a set of fresh tyres.

    "We talked about it before the qualifying," the championship leader, winner of the first two races, said of his decision to end the session early.

    "Both of us after the first run had the feeling we might be safe...but in the end you never know. If it works you are the hero but if it doesn't you are not."

    And the rest...

    Hamilton, who beat Vettel in Shanghai on strategy after saving a set of tyres and doing one more stop than the German, will start in fourth place and with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg alongside in third.

    Ferrari's double world champion Fernando Alonso qualified fifth with Button, winner in 2009 after Vettel had taken pole, back in sixth place.

    The pole was the 19th of Vettel's career, one more than Hamilton, and left him just three short of equalling the late triple champion Ayrton Senna's record of eight in a row set in 1988/89.

    Vettel has claimed pole in all of the Grand Prix this season and currently leads the standings with 68 points after three races, with Hamilton on 47, Button on 38 and Webber 37.

    No tyring of Pirelli

    Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera is optimistic about a fruitful long-term future in Formula One because the tiremaker's impact on its return to the series has surpassed all expectations.

    The Italian brand returned to the F1 grid this season after a 20-year absence to replace Japanese manufacturer Bridgestone as the sole supplier until 2013.

    F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone directed Pirelli to create a compound that ensures two to three pit stops in each race and creates the tire degradation that results in cars traveling at different speeds and encourages more overtaking.

    "I'm satisfied because we were able to do even better than what was asked of us," Tronchetti Provera told The Associated Press in an interview at the Turkish Grand Prix before Saturday's qualifying session.

    "Our target was to provide technology to all teams and emotion to all viewers, and we did both."

    That leads Tronchetti Provera to think the existing deal could be extended if the conditions are right.

    "We are here to stay unless it becomes too costly."

    Although some reservations were expressed, notably by drivers, about the new tires leading into the new season, that circumspection has generally turned to excitement, and Pirelli has earned praise for making the sport more exciting.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.