Vettel's late surge pips Button for pole

Flying Red Bull and Briton show brighter side of grand prix racing as budget cap impasse sends sport hurtling towards the buffers

They sent the A-Team, 2009 style, into Turkey yesterday.

Sebastian Vettel played the part of Mr T, but he is far from the only one who pities the fools that mess with the sport. Jenson Button was Hannibal, calmly organising everything and loving it when, as so often has been the case, a plan comes together.

Rubens Barrichello was the rubber-faced Murdoch. And thank the Lord for these guys, because they inject some much-needed grace and humour. They know how to smile and be happy, and right now F1 desperately needs that because behind the scenes the Mosley-Ecclestone Express is heading full tilt towards the buffers.

Mr T put his car on pole, but it was close. His Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber set the pace with 1 min 28.613sec, but moments later Button took that away with 1:28.421 for Brawn and then Barrichello pulled on to his bumper with 1:28.579. But Vettel's final run yielded 1:28.316.

Lewis Hamilton, struggling again in his McLaren, was only 16th after failing to get through the first qualifying session.

Vettel quickly made up ground after engine dramas on Friday to become the first man all season to be fastest in all three qualifying sessions. And the pole winner has always won here.

"We'll do our best to try and keep this statistic alive," he pledged. "We have a good chance here and a very good car, but qualifying was not easy. I wasn't that confident but I had a better feeling after Q1 and Q2, and finally we put the car on pole again. All the overnight changes seemed to work. Finally we made it and we are ahead of these white guys, and we think we have a very good race car for tomorrow."

As usual, there was good banter between the three fastest men. "So every poleman here has won," Button mused. "Well, we are going to try and change that tomorrow. This is a circuit where you can have a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to a good race, where you can overtake. The best team effort will win."

Barrichello will start on the cleaner side of the grid, right behind Vettel. "Much as I love Jenson as a friend, I hate him as a driver," he said.

"People think because I was second to Schumacher I will be second to Jenson, but I won't, I will fight him very, very hard. And I hope my side of the grid is better than his." Elsewhere in the paddock, however, nobody feels like laughing.

Renault boss Flavio Briatore said he is baffled why the teams and the FIA are still at loggerheads over cost-cutting plans. Eight of the 10 Formula One Teams Association members are quite happy to enter next year's championship if rules for a $45m (£28m) budget cap are delayed until 2011, and an interim cap of $100m is imposed instead, but they have been rebuffed by FIA president Max Mosley who seems hellbent on forcing his will upon them regardless of any counter-proposals.

There are serious fears now that when the entries for 2010 are announced this Friday Mosley will have granted only FOTA defectors Williams and Force India entries, together with a raft of new teams, many of whom are paper tigers. That might effectively force Brawn, Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Toyota, Red Bull and Renault to consider their own breakaway series. Briatore, who does baffled quite well, said FOTA could not figure out how it had come to this ridiculous impasse.

"Honestly, we don't know. For us it's a surprise why it's so difficult," he said. "We want to be in Formula One. From day one, FOTA was never aggressive with anybody. We just want to participate in the championship, we want to cut costs, we want to have clear rules, we want to have governance.

"We are forgetting the fans. We're always forgetting these people. There is a lot of confusion now. It's very destructive. We're not bluffing because when you have the responsibility of three or four hundred people, it's not bluffing. These are people who go home and the next day we need to make sure that we have the money to pay their salaries," he said.

Sadly, whatever Mr T, Hannibal Button and Murdoch Barrichello do this afternoon, it won't be enough. The way things are, the problems are so serious that even a visit from BA Baracus himself to Paris on 12 June would probably be insufficient to save F1 from itself.

Today's grid

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) RedBull-Renault; 2. Jenson Button (GB) Brawn-Mercedes; 3. Rubens Barrichello (Br) Brawn-Mercedes; 4. Mark Webber (Aus) RedBull-Renault; 5. Jarno Trulli (It) Toyota; 6. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari; 7. Felipe Massa (Br) Ferrari; 8. Fernando Alonso (Sp) Renault; 9. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Toyota; 10. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber; 11. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber; 12. Kazuki Nakajima (Japan) Williams-Toyota; 13. Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota; 14. Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes; 15. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India-Mercedes; 16. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes; 17. Nelson Piquet (Br) Renault; 18. Sébastien Buemi (Swit) Toro Rosso-Ferrari; 19. Giancarlo Fisichella (It) Force India-Mercedes; 20. Sébastien Bourdais (Fr) Toro Rosso-Ferrari.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before