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Turkish Grand Prix - Qualifying 
10th-May-2008 06:58 am
This morning's practice session was declared "wet" even though it wasn't raining and no rain was expected, although the track was damp. Anyway, the fastest time was set by MW (1:27.030) followed by FA, DC, NR, FM, JT, LH & TG.

GF has been given a 3 grid spot penalty for leaving the pit lane while the track was closed. (http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/5/7753.html)

Without Super Aguri, we'll see only 5 cars eliminated in Q1 and Q2, so there will still be 10 drivers fighting it out in Q3.

Air temperature 17°C, track 31°C, wind 3.4m/s, humidity 45%

Qualifying Session 1 (Q1)
GF is first on track
GF 1:29.273
TG 1:27.539
5mins gone, 15mins left in Q1
TG 1:27.412
KN spins in Turn 10 but recovers
KR 1:26.766
HK 1:26.736
LH 1:26.192
(FM P4)
DC is on the softer tyre option ... and goes P5
(FM P2)
(KR P2)
MW (DC's teammate) on harder tyre - only 0.2s slower than DC
GF only P17, so he'll be right at the very back of the grid given his penalty
Both BMW cars finally take to the track
5mins left; bottom 5 are NP, SB, RB, AS, GF
3mins left - time for one last flying lap
Surprisingly even some of the safe cars (e.g. Ferrari) are on track - only McLaren still in their garage
(GF P18)
FM 1:25.994
Chequered flag is out - they can finish their current lap
(JT P4!)
(TG P4)
(RB P12)
NP off track in T10
All flying laps done; bottom 5 are P16=KN, 17=NP, 18=SB, 19=GF, 20=AS ... so GF only drops from P19 to P20
Fastest was FM @ 1:25.994, followed by LH, KR, TG, JT, HK, RK & MW

Qualifying Session 2 (Q2)
Track open but (as often happens in Q2) no-one rushes to get out there
3mins gone and everyone's still sitting tight
DC first on track, followed by FA and SV
DC 1:26.895
FA 1:26.522
KR 1:26.050
Looks like everyone's using the option (softer compound) tyre
(FM P2)
(LH P3)
(HK P5)
5mins left; bottom 5 are NR, SV, TG, JB, RK although RK has yet to set a time
(RK P4, which pushes RB into the elimination zone)
Everyone except the BMWs are in the pits, getting ready for one final push
BMW do a "splash & dash" for their drivers
(HK P3)
Chequered flag
(DC P6)
(RK P2)
(MW P5)
Bottom 5 are P11=NR, 12=RB, 13=JB, 14=SV, 15=TG
Fastest was KR @ 1:26.050

Qualifying Session 3 (Q3)
The drivers battling over the top 10 grid spots are: KR, RK, FM, HK, MW, LH, DC, FA, NH & JT
NH first on track ... but returns to the pits without setting a time
Everyone bar DC on track - a mix of compounds out there
JT 1:30.299
LH 1:29.093 - replay shows the tail step out in T8
FM 1:27.896
(RK P2)
(KR P2)
LH goes out again on hard tyres for his final run - that's not going to help his time!
3mins left; order is FM, KR, RK, FA, LH, HK, NH, JT, MW, DC ... but MW & DC haven't set a time yet
1min left - the Red Bull drivers still not going out, so they'll be P9 & P10 - no, MW is on track
LH fighting the tail of the McLaren on hard tyres ... and goes P2!
Chequered flag
HK 1:27.808
FM 1:27.617
(RK P4)
(KR P4)
So FM takes the pole; 2=HK, 3=LH, 4=KR, 5=RK, 6=MW, 7=FA, 8=JT, 9=NH, 10=DC
Hmmm, so why did McLaren decide to put LH on the hard compound for that final lap?

Provisional Grid: FM, HK, LH, KR, RK, MW, FA, JT, NH, DC; NR, RB, JB, SV, TG; KN, NP, SB, AS, GF*
*GF dropped from P19 to P20 because of his penalty.

ITV interview Ron Dennis: LH opted for better balance
10th-May-2008 12:04 pm (UTC)
Turkish Grand Prix... I hear they're allowed to smoke and drink thick black coffee whilst driving ;)

10th-May-2008 12:44 pm (UTC)
Yes but the race is an absolute delight :p
10th-May-2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
Except in reality it's going to be a tedious race - it's been won by the pole-sitter every time. Yawnsville. Hopefully it'll rain and bring some excitement.
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