Red Bull showed how its biggest battle in the Turkish Grand Prix could be with itself after it experienced reliability problems that allowed McLaren to shut out both practice sessions.
Jenson Button, fastest in the second session, said the Red Bulls would still be the cars to beat in qualifying: “I don’t think qualifying tomorrow will be boring. There should be some good battles.
“The car feels reasonably good around here – there are still some areas where we’re not so strong, and the Red Bulls will once again be the cars to beat in qualifying tomorrow. I just hope we’re closer than we’ve been in the last two races.
“I think the Ferrari will be quick here too. It should be the top four teams that we normally see, and possibly Renault as well.”
Drivers’ world championship leader Mark Webber suffered a suspected engine failure towards the end of the second session that allowed Button to top the timesheet with a fastest time of 1:28.280. Vettel, in third, had also expressed reliability fears via the team radio.
In fourth was Lewis Hamilton, split from team-mate Button by the two Red Bulls, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso fifth, Mercedes’ GP’s Nico Rosberg sixth and his team-mate Michael Schumacher seventh.
Renault’s Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov were eighth and ninth and Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa was tenth.
In the first session, Hamilton had recorded a fastest time of 1:28.653, keeping his team-mate and both Mercedes GP drivers behind him.
He said: “I have no doubts that tomorrow in qualifying the Red Bulls will pull out something extra, which they always seem able to do. We haven’t made too many changes to the car for this race, but we’ve got a chance this weekend, and I think we’ll be able to compete with them.”
The first Red Bull appearance in this slower session was in fifth place with Kubica and Petrov in sixth and seventh, Webber in eighth, Alonso ninth and Force India’s Adrian Sutil tenth despite an encounter with the barriers at Turn 8.
Massa was 13th while the two Williams cars clocked in at 16th and 17th after their problems in Monaco.
For Hispania former Super Aguri and Renault driver Sakon Yamamoto was in the car to provide some benchmarks for the team to judge their rookie race drivers’ performances.
However, Karun Chandhok was well over a second faster during the session and when Bruno Senna replaced Yamamoto in second practice the pair were more than two and half seconds quicker.
Practice two times
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:28.280
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:28.378
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:28.590
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:28.672
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:28.725
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:28.914
- Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:28.974
- Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:29.225
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:29.501
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:29.620
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:29.629
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:29.987
- Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:30.053
- Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:30.176
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:30.386
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:30.627
- Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:30.766
- Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:30.933
- Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:31.610
- Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:33.013
- Jarno Trulli, Cosworth: 1:33.081
- Timo Glock: Virgin: 1:33.312
- Bruno Senna, Hispania: 1:33.420
- Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:33.740
Practice one times
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:28.653
- Jenson Button, McLaren: 1:29.615
- Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP: 1:29.750
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP: 1:29.855
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:29.867
- Robert Kubica, Renault: 1:30.061
- Vitaly Petrov, Renault: 1:30.065
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:30.097
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari: 1:30.294
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:30.501
- Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber: 1:30.615
- Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India: 1:30.853
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:30.867
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:31.011
- Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber: 1:31.238
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:31.355
- Rubens Barrichello, Williams: 1:31.464
- Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso: 1:31.735
- Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus: 1:32.161
- Jarno Trulli, Lotus: 1:32.990
- Karun Chandhok, Hispania: 1:34.876
- Lucas di Grassi, Virgin: 1:35.137
- Timo Glock, Virgin: 1:35.583
- Sakon Yamamoto, Hispania: 1:36.137