This weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix is shaping up to be one of the most truly competitive races for a while, and very likely of this season so far. We’ve had competition in wet conditions in a few races but in the dry ones, it’s really been all about Red Bull, whether they actually win like they should, or fail to because of reliability problems.
In Istanbul this weekend though, McLaren look to be right on the tail of Red Bull for the first time in dry conditions. Yes, Vettel probably would have qualified second ahead of Hamilton had he not suffered a problem with his car during Q3, but even so, on race pace, McLaren should be able to challenge Webber and Vettel at least and maybe even get the win.
With those two teams taking up the first two rows of the grid, it seems likely that it will be a two team show tomorrow. No one else I would imagine will be able to challenge them. Mercedes are the most likely other team to join in the fun but I don’t think their pace is going to be good enough to get them a podium unless there are some major incidents or reliability problems.
Ferrari you would think would be strong, but the development of their car doesn’t seem to be good enough to keep pace with the others and Fernando Alonso has stated that he thinks they have fallen behind the other 3 top teams and maybe even Renault. Alonso Qualified in 12th and Massa 8th, signalling that they have lots of work to do.
As far as the midfield goes, Williams are having a torrid time at the moment and can’t seem to get a break. After suffering two big crashes in Monaco, they couldn’t make much of an impression in Q2, ending up 15th and 17th on the grid with Barrichello the furthest forward.
Sauber were surprisingly good with Kamui Kobayashi reaching Q3 where he qualified 10th. Pedro De La Rosa was 13th. They just need to convert their positive qualifying results into points. Petrov was the other surprise in the top 10 while Adrian Sutil who is normally around the 10th spot just missed out on Q3 in 11th. His team-mate Liuzzi was the lone driver for one of the established teams to go out in Q1 with the 6 slower cars. He has been struggling recently and it’s unfortunate to see because I was impressed with his when he first joined Force India. Paul Di Resta is eyeing that seat up still so he really needs a good race tomorrow to keep hold of it for the rest of the season and beyond.
Lotus were once again the fastest of the new teams. Bruno Senna managed to qualify ahead of another team for the first time with Lucas Di Grassi behind him on the grid.
Coverage starts at 12:10 on BBC ONE tomorrow afternoon. The race itself starts around 1pm.