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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2010 TURKISH GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Qualifying
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Istanbul Park
Istanbul Park © Sutton
10:45 Hello everyone and welcome back to AUTOSPORT Live for continuing coverage of the seventh round in the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

The practice sessions have been completed, and now it is time to qualify for the Turkish Grand Prix.

We have seen three very different practice periods over the last two days. The first was a case study in research and development, the second was dominated by long runs on race fuel in preparation for Sunday, and then this morning all hell broke loose with drivers hitting problems and throwing their cars at the scenery regularly.

Now we get the opportunity to look at raw pace in the knockout qualifying session. The form book says we should have a Red Bull on pole in just over an hour from now, but between reliability problems and exploring the run-off areas when the RB6 does run, the pole is certainly not guaranteed.

Qualifying begins in 15 minutes time, but before then we will set the scene with a review of this morning's action, a look at the qualifying head-to-heads and take a check on the latest weather at Istanbul Park.

Vettel topped final practice
Vettel topped final practice © Sutton
10:47 Sebastian Vettel was quickest after one of the most entertaining final practice sessions we have seen for a long time.

The chaos began when Heikki Kovalainen slowed on the installation lap with gearbox trouble. Moments later Adrian Sutil was crawling back to the pits with a hydraulics issue, but Mark Webber grabbed the early headlines as he too slowed dramatically with a throttle problem.

Lewis Hamilton was looking quick once again in the McLaren, but suddenly it swapped ends at high speed in Turn 8 and found the gravel. Hamilton eventually made it back to the pits with two flat rear tyres and further light damage to the MP4-25.

Turn 8 was proving again to be the place to watch the action. Chandhok, Petrov and even Vettel had moments at the quadruple-apex left-hander, but the Red Bull star regained enough composure to blast round the 5.338 km Istanbul Park circuit in 1m27.086s on his next - and final - lap.

Nico Rosberg produced a late surge to take second spot, with Hamilton recovering to third, Webber out in the repaired Red Bull and up to fourth, Robert Kubica fifth and Fernando Alonso rounding out the top six.

If the final practice is anything to go by, then we are set for an enthralling session with many drivers struggling to keep cars on the road in very difficult track conditions.

Vettel goes quickest in final practice

10:49 Weather conditions have improved slightly since the end of practice. The sun is slowly breaking through the thinning cloud base, brightening the atmosphere around the circuit.

Temperatures are climbing quickly, with a maximum of 29 degrees Celsius in the air, and track temperature climbing well over 40 degrees - depending on how much sunshine there is over the next hour.

Fans get their message across
Fans get their message across © Sutton
10:50 Motor racing enthusiasts love to debate and discuss the action on track, and the live forum at the bottom of the screen is your chance to let everyone know your thoughts on events as they unfold at the circuit.

• Will Red Bull lock out the front row of the grid this afternoon?

• Will Renault get both cars into the top ten shootout today? Vitaly Petrov has backed up team-mate Kubica very well so far this weekend.

• Which driver will be the unlucky one to join the regular six from the three new teams on the sidelines at the end of Q1? Hulkenberg and Barrichello appear to be struggling for pace in the Williams, could one of them could go out early?

Tell the world what you think.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.

10:51 Here is a look at how the qualifying battle is shaping up within each team:
Qualifying head-to-head

Button          3 - 3      Hamilton
Schumacher	1 - 5      Rosberg
Vettel		3 - 3      Webber
Massa		2 - 4      Alonso
Barrichello	4 - 2      Hulkenberg
Kubica		6 - 0      Petrov
Sutil		5 - 1      Liuzzi
Buemi	        5 - 1      Alguersuari
Trulli		3 - 3      Kovalainen
Chandhok	2 - 4      Senna
De la Rosa	4 - 2      Kobayashi
Glock		6 - 0 	   Di Grassi
New tyres provide a quick first lap
New tyres provide a quick first lap © Sutton
10:53 This morning's practice session under overcast skies proved to be tricky for the drivers as they struggled to find the grip they had enjoyed during the much warmer sessions on Friday.

The emerging sunshine will be a welcome sight up and down the pitlane, but tyre use in today's session is likely to be a little less clear cut than recent races.

Fresh rubber has looked to be the ticket to a fast lap around this challenging circuit. With temperatures rising again, building heat in the rubber isn't a worry here. Today it is all about getting the best from a single flying lap - avoiding the inevitable traffic and potential for serious mistakes we saw unfolding in the final practice session.

As ever, the leading teams will plan to escape Q1 on hard tyres, but after that there is a chance of some shock elimination if drivers don't get the best from their one-shot rubber.

10:55 Qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix begins in five minutes.

10:56 The track temperature is up to 39 Celsius in hazy sunshine and a warm 25 degree ambient.

10:57 There is a stiff breeze blowing across the circuit, which could be a factor in upsetting the cars through the faster corners.

10:58 Sebastian Vettel is standing in the back of the garage. He slowly gets ready for the session, putting his balaclava and helmet on.

10:59 Mike Gascoyne reports on a split tyre strategy at Lotus: "Jarno to do Q1 on the prime tyre, Heikki prefers the option"

10:59 Nico Rosberg walks towards his Mercedes that was having a lot of pre-session work done on it earlier.

0 min: The first segment is underway.

0 min: The pairs of Lotus and Virgin cars are first out.

1 min: Adrian Sutil joins the new team drivers out on the circuit. Sutil of course had hydraulic problems this morning in the Force India.

2 min: The first job Sutil will have is to make sure quickly that all functions on the car are working, before he launches into a flying lap.

2 min: Trulli is the fastest man through the first sector as the early flying laps continue.

3 min: Chandhok and Senna come out onto the circuit in the HRT entries.

3 min: Trulli takes the early benchmark with a 1m31.722s, with Glock second.

3 min: Sutil is straight into a qualifying lap and should move ahead of the new team drivers quite soon.

4 min: Nico Hulkenberg joins the track in the Williams. The young German has a major fight on his hands just to progress through this phase.

4 min: No move yet from the Mercedes, Red Bull or Toro Rosso drivers.

4 min: Kovalainen has slotted in second quickest behind his team mate.

4 min: Sutil goes quickest so far with a 1m30.433s lap as more and more drivers come out for a first run.

5 min: Kovalainen improves on his next effort to go second to Sutil.

5 min: Lucas Di Grassi aborted his first qualifying run and elected to pit at the end of his timed lap.

5 min: Meanwhile, Alonso is on for a good time on hard tyres and tops the order with a 1m28.172s as the big guns begin to fire.

6 min: Both McLaren drivers are on flying laps now.

6 min: Hulkenberg slots in fourth behind Alonso, Petrov and Sutil with six minutes gone.

6 min: Petrov is currently second quickest in his Renault.

6 min: Button tops Alonso's early effort as he goes fastest with a 1m27.780s.

7 min: Schumacher and Rosberg emerge from the Mercedes garage for a first run, leaving Webber and Vettel still in the box.

7 min: Hamilton is a tenth short of his team-mate's time and slots in second quickest.

7 min: Liuzzi posts a 1m29.070s lap to slot in seventh right behind team-mate Adrian Sutil.

8 min: The order is Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa and Petrov after the first significant runs.

8 min: Webber comes out and is followed by Red Bull team-mate Vettel. They are the last two drivers onto the circuit.

8 min: Schumacher and Rosberg are on timed laps now and we will look to see where they end up.

9 min: Rosberg crosses the line and goes second quickest behind Button with 1m27.839s.

9 min: Alonso improves his time with a 1m27.894s but is now fourth after Rosberg's recent move up the order.

9 min: Notably, Alguersuari and Liuzzi posted efforts slower than both Williams drivers. This is where the battle will be towards the end of Q1.

10 min: Schumacher went fifth with his first effort of 1m27.921s.

10 min: Button has continued his run and finds good pace after some gentle laps - 1m27.555s is now the time to beat.

10 min: Vettel and Webber are the only two yet to post a time on the board, as we see Liuzzi having a wild spin at Turn 10.

10 min: Hamilton has also improved deep into a run on the harder rubber but is again just over a tenth down on Button.

10 min: Liuzzi pitted immediately and will be quickly having the Force India checked over.

11 min: Webber goes fifth with a 1m27.871s on his first timed lap.

11 min: Vettel does better than his team-mate and is third with a lap of 1m27.685s.

12 min: Felipe Massa has slipped to eighth quickest in his Ferrari.

12 min: All 24 drivers have now posted a time on the board. As you would expect the six drivers from the three new teams are in the dropzone.

12 min: Joining the slower six drivers is Tonio Liuzzi. He is still in the pits following that spin.

12 min: Webber puts Red Bull on top with a 1m27.500s, having been forced to pass Alguersuari on his previous tour.

13 min: Vettel immediately responds to his team-mate and sets the benchmark at a 1m27.067s.

13 min: Above Liuzzi, Barrichello is on the bubble in 17th spot, with Alguersuari 16th. The Spaniard stayed out to put a second timed lap in, and he beat the Brazilian with that second effort.

That second lap from Jaime could be crucial to his session.

13 min: Vettel was the fastest man through all three sectors to lead the order from Webber, Button, Rosberg, Hamilton, Schumacher, Alonso and Kubica

14 min: Kubica is on a late first run and improves on his latest effort to go seventh quickest in the Renault.

14 min: Trulli and Kovalainen are back out for a final run. The Italian is 19th with his team-mate 21st after a poor first effort.

15 min: Kovalainen is using a set of hard tyres on this run, and he comes through in 1m30.519s to move up to 20th.

15 min: Buemi comes out as does Toro Rosso team-mate Alguersuari. Both could do with improving on their last run.

16 min: Barrichello and Hulkenberg are out to. This 18th place is going to be a battle between Williams, Toro Rosso and Liuzzi.

16 min: The top ten look safely through into Q2 while the midfield is under pressure to improve.

16 min: Liuzzi is the last of those in danger to come out onto the circuit. He left the pits with just under four minutes remaining and should be on a run of two timed laps.

17 min: Petrov and Sutil look to be through but are out for another run.

17 min: Kobayashi in 13th isn't safe either. He is only three-tenths up on Liuzzi in 18th.

17 min: Petrov springs up to fourth quickest with a creditable 1m27.620s

18 min: Barrichello is on a great first sector and will progress if he can maintain his current pace.

18 min: Barrichello drops a tenth to Alguersuari in the middle sector but is quicker overall and likely to leapfrog the Toro Rosso driver.

19 min: Barrichello goes 12th and is relatively safe. Kobayashi also improves and looks to be okay.

19 min: Buemi failed to improve on his latest effort and is now 15th.

19 min: Hulkenberg was not able to improve on his lap and faces a straight fight with Liuzzi for that wooden spoon 18th position.

20 min: Hulkenberg goes 14th and should now make it.

20 min: The qualifying period has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

11:21 Liuzzi is on his final effort ... but it's not good enough. Liuzzi is eliminated and the Toro Rosso and Williams drivers are safe.

11:21 Sutil makes a late improvement to secure 10th in the Force India.

11:21 The first period of qualifying has been completed. The following seven drivers have been eliminated:

18) Liuzzi
19) Trulli
20) Kovalainen
21) Glock
22) Senna
23) Di Grassi
24) Chandhok.

11:22 Tonio Liuzzi falls at the first hurdle once again, largely thanks to a wild spin he had coming down the hill under braking into Turn 10.

11:23 Liuzzi was eventually a full second slower than team-mate Sutil, who went through easily in tenth position.

11:23 Up front, it is unsurprisingly Red Bull to the fore as Vettel and Webber find significant pace on the harder rubber.

11:24 The 17 drivers have have progressed will now need to put Q1 to the back of their minds, re-focus and go again for the next challenge.

11:24 The next phase is 15 minutes and the object is to make it through into the top ten for the final shootout.

11:26 Lucas Di Grassi aborted his first qualifying run for some reason, pitting with two laps on the board. Perhaps the issue that brought him in early contributed to him being out-qualified by Senna in the HRT.

0 min: The battle to make the top ten is underway.

0 min: Kubica is the first man out in his Renault, followed by Button's McLaren.

1 min: Adrian Sutil leaves the Force India garage as he attempts to make the top ten.

1 min: Hamilton is heading out to bank a time on the harder tyres.

2 min: Vettel and Schumacher are also out on track, making it six on the circuit so far.

2 min: Kubica is on to a flying lap with the harder tyres on his Renault.

2 min: Alonso is going for it on the softer rubber, as is team-mate Massa.

3 min: Kubica sets the ball rolling with a 1m27.487s

4 min: Schumacher goes third with his lap of 1m27.512s.

4 min: Button slots is fourth quickest after a 1m27.586s effort.

4 min: Hamilton takes away the benchmark time, clocking a 1m27.013s on the harder rubber.

4 min: The seven time champion is third because Vettel shot straight to the top of the list with 1m27.188s.

5 min: Webber outpaces Vettel with 1m27.080s in the other Red Bull Renault.

5 min: So it's Hamilton up front ahead of Webber, Vettel, Kubica, Schumacher and Button in sixth.

5 min: Alonso and Massa are complete flying laps with soft rubber and the times are relatively poor - sixth for Massa and ninth for Alonso.

6 min: Rosberg posts a slow first attempt of 1m30.523s. He is down in 13th position.

7 min: Rosberg goes on for a second lap and he only improves to 11th fastest with 1m27.734s. He needs to improve.

7 min: Button finds some speed on his latest lap, going fourth with a 1m27.487s.

7 min: But up front Vettel is rapid and takes the top placing back with 1m26.925s.

7 min: Petrov is now fifth in his Renault, with team-mate Kubica sixth.

8 min: The Ferrari drivers have been unable to find pace with further laps on the soft rubber and are now eighth and 11th.

9 min: Meanwhile the Sauber pair both set improving times with Kobayashi in ninth but de la Rosa struggling on soft tyres in 13th.

9 min: That lap from Kobayashi puts Rosberg in even more trouble. The German is now 12th with six minutes to go.

10 min: The harder tyres are clearly offering good pace with the current track conditions and it will be interesting to see if the leading teams head out to test the option rubber ahead of Q3

10 min: Sutil is tenth and right on the edge, but Alonso, Rosberg, De la Rosa, Buemi, Alguersuari, Barrichello and Hulkenberg are in the dropzone.

11 min: Alonso is the first of the dropzone drivers to go. The Ferrari is back out on track and needs to improve.

11 min: Vettel, Hamilton, Webber and Button are all out for another attempt.

11 min: Rosberg joins him on the circuit.

12 min: Amazingly, just 0.5 seconds covers Button in fourth down to De la Rosa in 13th. Virtually no-one in that area is safe.

12 min: All the dropzone drivers and Sutil are out on the circuit for the final scrap. This should be fascinating.

12 min: Massa sets his best first sector as he tries to halt his slide down the order.

13 min: Alonso's first sector isn't all that quick. He needs to pull something a lot better out of the bag.

13 min: Massa clocks a 1m27.200 on soft tyres to put his Ferrari up to fourth.

13 min: And Alonso makes another mistake at Turn 12 and the lap is lost! Big, big problems here for the Ferrari driver.

14 min: Webber is the quickest man through the first sector and clocks a 1m26.818s to top the times.

14 min: Rosberg is doing much better on his lap so far and looks likely to place well in the top ten.

14 min: Hamilton failed to improve on his soft tyre effort.

14 min: Vettel is now the fastest man through the first sector.

14 min: Alonso is slower than Rosberg in sector one on his next lap. The Spaniard is heading out here.

15 min: Rosberg goes fourth and is now safe, but it's all on Alonso ...

15 min: The flag is out, could Alonso be a shock victim ...

11:42 Alonso does not make it. The Spaniard simply wasn't fast enough when he needed to be. He is eliminated.

11:43 Meanwhile, Vettel tops the times with a 1m26.729s and pole looks like an in-house battle at Red Bull.

11:44 The second period of qualifying has been completed. The following seven drivers have been eliminated:

11) Sutil
12) Alonso
13) De la Rosa
14) Buemi
15) Barrichello
16) Alguersuari
17) Hulkenberg.

11:44 It is a great day for Renault with Petrov and Kubica through to Q3.

11:45 Nico Rosberg's last lap moved him up from 11th to fourth place and safety. But someone felt the pain and today it was Adrian Sutil, who was tenth prior to Rosberg's improvement.

11:45 There will be some concern in the McLaren camp that its drivers failed to improve on the softer tyres. Tyre choice for Q3 is not clear cut.

11:46 But the big story from Q2 is without doubt the elimination of Fernando Alonso. That mistake at Turn 12 cost the two-time champion badly.

11:46 Alonso was then unable to nail it on his one remaining chance to progress. He missed the cut by just under two-tenths of a second.

11:47 It is the first time that Petrov has made it to Q3 with a strong seventh-place time in that segment.

11:48 So here are the ten drivers that have made it through to the final battle for the top places on the grid:

Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber
Lewis Hamilton
Nico Rosberg
Felipe Massa
Michael Schumacher
Robert Kubica
Vitaly Petrov
Kamui Kobayashi
Jenson Button.

0 min: The battle for pole is underway in Turkey.

0 min: Kubica and Hamilton lead the cars out of the pits.

1 min: Rosberg joins the opening duo of drivers on the circuit.

1 min: Massa is going for a lap on the softer tyres, which clearly only manage a single fast time.

1 min: Webber leaves the Red Bull garage with a set of soft tyres bolted on.

2 min: Hamilton is on to a flying lap with the soft tyres on his McLaren.

2 min: Hamilton sets a very quick first sector as he pushes hard in the McLaren.

3 min: Kubica clocks the first time at a 1m27.039s.

3 min: Hamilton puts down a strong early marker with a quick 1m26.542s.

4 min: Button slots in behind his team-mate, clocking a 1m26.781s.

4 min: Rosberg goes second briefly with a lap of 1m26.952s but he is beaten by team-mate Schumacher.

4 min: Vettel crosses the line but the lap isn't enough to beat Lewis Hamilton. 1m26.760s for the German.

5 min: If it's not one it's the other! Webber surges to the front with 1m26.510s on those soft tyres.

5 min: It's first blood to Webber as the drivers tour back to the pits after the first run of two.

5 min: The drivers head back to the pits for fresh tyres and a splash of fuel.

6 min: Webber leads the list from Hamilton with Vettel third, Button fourth, Schumacher fifth, Rosberg sixth and Kubica seventh.

6 min: With just fractions in it between Webber and Hamilton, the McLaren man will fancy his chances of breaking Red Bulls string of poles.

6 min: Kamui Kobayashi didn't rush out with the others. He is saving tyres and has just one set of softs for this session. He leaves the pits now.

7 min: Massa heads out for a second attempt on soft rubber but the Ferrari is not looking strong here.

7 min: The tyre covers come off Vettel's car and he rolls down the pitlane on softs with work to do, or face being out-qualified by Webber again.

8 min: Hamilton is behind Webber on the road but ahead of a pack of traffic involving Vettel, Rosberg, Button and Schumacher.

8 min: Kobayashi crosses the line in 1m28.122s and posts the tenth fastest time.

9 min: Webber starts his final effort for pole. Using soft tyres, he winds his way through the opening corners of the lap.

9 min: 32.0s for Webber in the first sector. He has a good shot at the pole here this afternoon.

9 min: Hamilton is quicker than Webber through the first sector!

10 min: The flag is out, but the laps continue ...

10 min: Vettel is slow in the first sector and almost one second off Webber's time.

10 min: Hamilton flings the McLaren through the chicane and is now gunning for the line ...

10 min: Webber is slow in the middle sector while Hamilton keeps charging on. Webber improves to 1m26.295s but all eyes are on Hamilton ...

10 min: Hamilton's second sector is not perfect and he can't topple the Red Bull.

12:01 Mark Webber claims pole position for tomorrow's Turkish Grand Prix!

12:02 Hamilton takes a great second place in his McLaren, splitting the Red Bull pair.

12:02 Replays now show us what happened to Vettel. He made a mess of the first corner, and his lap was ruined right there.

12:03 Jenson Button ends up fourth in the McLaren, with Michael Schumacher fifth and Nico Rosberg in sixth place.

12:03 The session ended in drama for Michael Schumacher, who failed to improve after spinning off into the Turn 8 gravel. He will start fifth.

12:03 Robert Kubica was seventh, with Massa eighth, Petrov ninth and Kamui Kobayashi rounds out the top ten.

12:04 In the end the drama was minimal on that second run. Vettel ran wide at Turn 1 and he was out of it. Webber improved by enough to keep Hamilton at bay.

12:04 Schumacher failed to improve and we have yet to see quite how he ended up in the gravel.

12:05 Rosberg wasn't able to improve on his final effort either, so overall, not the high drama that we are used to seeing from the final battle.

12:08 Here's our round up of the qualifying hour:

Webber secures third pole in a row in Turkey

12:11 A difficult qualifying session in many ways ends with Mark Webber on cloud nine, taking his third straight pole for Red Bull. The Milton Keynes based team has now scored all seven poles on offer in 2010.

Lewis Hamilton put in a great performance to split the Red Bull duo, and for the neutrals watching tomorrow you have to hope that he can somehow out-drag the championship leaders to the first corner.

Fingers will be pointing at Ferrari as it marks 800 grands prix, but joy this afternoon for Renault and Sauber with very strong qualifying performances.

Will Mark Webber make it a hat-trick of wins to take a commanding lead in the title race? Join us for all the build-up to the Turkish Grand Prix tomorrow from 10:30 GMT.

  OVERVIEW QUALIFYING  
Session length: 60 minutes
  CURRENT WEATHER
Mainly cloudy High Temp: 29°C / 84°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 24 May Start GMT
 Turkish Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 28 May
 Friday Morning Practice 06:45
 Friday Afternoon Practice 10:45
Saturday 29 May
 Saturday Morning Practice 07:45
 Qualifying 10:45
Sunday 30 May
 Race day at Istanbul Park 10:30