Webber on pole in Turkey

Red Bull make it seven pole positions in a row this season, but Lewis Hamilton prevents Sebastian Vettel from locking out the front row.

Mark Webber will be on pole for the third time in a row with Red Bull.
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Red Bull Racing staged their own version of the magnificent seven in Istanbul today as Mark Webber clinched his third straight pole for tomorrow's Turkish Grand Prix. For the seventh consecutive time this year Red Bull will start from the front row of the grid, but it was a close run thing as Webber narrowly edged out McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by 0.138sec with a lap of 1min 26.295sec. In making it three in a row, Webber became the first Australian to achieve such a feat since Sir Jack Brabham in 1960, and the first in Formula One since Ferrari's Felipe Massa three years ago. In the closing seconds Hamilton was poised to break Red Bull's run as he was fastest in the first and third sectors, but a poor second cost him the chance of what would have been his 18th career pole. Hamilton managed to split the Red Bull duo of Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who was nearly half a second down on his more experienced 33-year-old teammate. On McLaren's best qualifying day of the season, reigning world champion Jenson Button will start fourth, offering the team a real shot of victory given their race pace. Behind the leading quartet come the Mercedes pairing of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, although the seven-time world champion blotted his copybook with a spin at Turn Eight on his final run. Renault's Robert Kubica again out-qualified teammate Vitaly Petrov to claim seventh ahead of the Russian's ninth, although the latter did at least make it into the top 10 for the first time this year. The top on the grid is completed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa who is eighth and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi who starts 10th. The notable absentee from the top 10 was Fernando Alonso, with the double world champion surprisingly a woeful 12th, a position that will provide further ammunition to his critics of late. Alonso missed the cut for Q3 by a considerable margin of 0.174sec and will start behind Adrian Sutil in his Force India who finished 0.087sec down on Schumacher who just scraped through. Behind Alonso will be the Sauber of Pedro de la Rosa and Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi in 13th and 14th. The Williams duo of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg sandwich Jaime Alguersuari in the second Toro Rosso in 15th, 16th and 17th. Alguersuari caused a delay to the start of Q3 by stopping on track at Turn Eight after the clock had passed zero in the 15-minute middle session. For the second time in the seven races this season, Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi headed the list of the bottom seven to drop out after the initial 20-minute session. Underlining the difference between himself and teammate Sutil, the latter finished a second ahead of the Italian with the 10th fastest time in Q1, which is likely to be of growing interest to reserve in the Briton Paul di Resta. Below Liuzzi, compatriot Jarno Trulli was the best of the new boys, the veteran starting 19th ahead of teammate Heikki Kovalainen as Lotus were again quicker than Virgin and Hispania Racing. Virgin's Timo Glock finished 0.225sec adrift of Kovalainen and starts 21st, with teammate Lucas di Grassi 23rd, while Hispania duo Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok are 22nd and 24th. Webber has had his issues this weekend, notably an engine failure at the end of second practice yesterday then no response from the throttle to the engine at the start of final practice today. But in getting it all together in qualifying, he said: "It hasn't been the smoothest for me in terms of getting the running in. "If you're ever going to have a problem with the engine I guess yesterday was (the best time). "Today I was a little bit on the back foot, but I dug deep and I was okay, and again it's a nice place to start the race." Hamilton admitted he had given it his all in attempting to depose the Red Bulls from their lofty perch. "I was pushing. You always try to push the car that little bit further," said Hamilton. "I wasn't 100 per cent happy with the balance yesterday, but today it was fine and I couldn't have asked any more from the car. The team have done a great job. "So it feels great to be on the front row. Red Bull have been untouchable nearly all year in terms of pace, so this is a real boost for the team this year." Vettel admitted to suffering problems with his steering and brakes in the closing stages of Q3 that wrecked his penultimate and final laps. "Q1 and Q2 were very smooth and I was happy with the car," said Vettel. "Then in Q3 on the penultimate lap I had a slight problem at turn 12 as it kept on locking. "The car didn't seem to want to stop, it just went straight. It was quite bad, otherwise it should have been quite a lot quicker. "Then on the first corner of the last lap I again lost the brakes and the car was not doing what it was supposed to do. "It's still good to be third which is obviously better than fourth like Jenson, but he is starting on the dirty side."

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