Australian Mark Webber completed a hat-trick of pole positions on Saturday when he clocked the fastest time for Red Bull in qualifying for Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
The 33-year-old championship leader - who leads team mate Sebastian Vettel by virtue of races won as they are level on points - has now claimed four poles this season and five in his career and the Red Bull team have taken all seven this year.
Vettel, 22, qualified third behind 2008 champion Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren who therefore split the pace-setters and claimed a front row start for the first time this year.
Hamilton’s McLaren team mate defending champion and fellow-Briton Jenson Button was fourth ahead of German comeback kid Michael Schumacher, 41, of Mercedes.
His Mercedes team mate and fellow-German Nico Rosberg was sixth ahead of Pole Robert Kubica of Renault with Brazilian Felipe Massa eighth for Ferrari. His team mate Spaniard Fernando Alonso was only down in 12th.
Kubica’s Renault team mate Russian Vitaly Petrov was ninth and Japanese Kamui Kobayashi 10th for Sauber.
On a warm, but overcast day at the Istanbul Park circuit, the three new teams were all eliminated in the Q1 opening mini-session together with under-pressure Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi of the Force India team.
Liuzzi, 29, had one final lap to try and escape the early cut, but could not improve and, two weeks after the Force India team had two cars finishing for the first time at the Monaco Grand Prix, they had one ousted in the first session of qualifying.
That meant he joined fellow-Italian Jarno Trulli and his Lotus team mate Finn Heikki Kovalainen, German Timo Glock of Virgin and Brazilians Bruno Senna of Hispania and Lucas di Grassi of Virgin and Indian Karun Chandhok of Hispania back in the paddock.
In Q2, it was Vettel on top again as he was in Q1 and in the morning free practice session. The shock was in seeing Ferrari’s two-times world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso failing to make the cut to the top ten shoot-out.