First front row start for Kovalainen
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul from second and third on the grid respectively. This is Heikki’s best ever Formula 1 qualifying position. In the third part of Saturday's qualifying, Heikki was second fastest with a 1m27.808, 191 thousandths of a second behind pole position. Lewis followed in third spot with a 1m27.923.
Heikki Kovalainen: "The two weeks following my accident in Spain have been a little bit like a rollercoaster ride and I am really happy to start from the front row here in Istanbul. I have felt comfortable in the car since my first lap yesterday, and everything has been running smoothly. In my second run in the third part of qualifying I attacked as much as possible, and the lap was absolutely clean which was great. The tyre choice this weekend has been extremely tricky. I am starting from the dirty side of the circuit but don’t think this will be a problem, and we have a good basis for tomorrow's race."
Lewis Hamilton: "I am not completely satisfied with third place today, as I think I could have gone a bit faster and also didn’t make the right tyre choice as I was on the harder Bridgestone tyre for my final run. I did a great lap in Q1 and felt the car worked better there than in Q2 which was why I made the tyre decision I did. My final lap wasn’t that great either, so all in all I am a bit disappointed. However looking forward we have a very good technical package and will push hard tomorrow to fight for a good result. I think we are close to Ferrari, but it will be a tough race. As this circuit provides some overtaking opportunities it should be a good one for the spectators and the fans as well.”
Ron Dennis: “A competitive qualifying session from the team, and it looks like we have closed some of the gap to our main competition, but we have to see how the race unfolds. Obviously we would have liked to be on pole, but at the end of the day both drivers did a great job. Heikki has been consistent and quick since his very first lap on Friday. Lewis made the decision to use the prime tyre for his final run as he felt the option was going off a little bit at the end of the lap. With two cars in the top three we look forward to a competitive race tomorrow,”
Norbert Haug: "Second place on the grid is a great re-start for Heikki following his accident in Spain, whilst Lewis is one place behind his team mate. Positions two and three are a good basis for tomorrow's race, but of course ideally our aim was to start from the pole."