Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock claimed new territory for 8-year-old Toyota on Saturday as the pair took the front row for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix. Qualifying specialist Trulli pipped his teammate by three-tenths of a second for pole position,...
Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock claimed new territory for 8-year-old Toyota on Saturday as the pair took the front row for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix. Qualifying specialist Trulli pipped his teammate by three-tenths of a second for pole position, the team's first since two in 2005, when Trulli teamed with Ralf Schumacher. Glock led final practice times earlier in the day before the TF109 suffered an electrical problem.
The field lines up for a fourth race in five weeks of a season that has begun furiously with as many as five teams pushing to the front. China winner Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull lines up third. His teammate, China runner-up Mark Webber, was balked to the back row by Force India's Adrian Sutil in the first of three qualifying sessions. Sutil dropped three places from 16th after a penalty was assessed for the incident. The German said he was trying to find a gap to Renault's Fernando Alonso and didn't realize Webber was on a flying lap. He apologized. Australian Webber responded in characteristic, soft-peddling way: "My race is screwed."
Australia and Malaysia winner Jenson Button of Brawn GP starts fourth. World driving titlist Lewis Hamilton of McLaren Mercedes and field veteran Rubens Barrichello of Brawn GP start on the third row. Double world champion Alonso and world champ runner-up Felipe Massa of Ferrari are on the fourth row. Friday practice leader Nico Rosberg of Williams F1 and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari complete the first half of the grid.
Both Ferraris reached the front half of the grid for the first time this season. Two-time defending race winner Massa, who celebrated his 28th birthday Saturday, displayed second-quick time in practice. Neither Ferrari driver has scored this season, a situation matched only by Force India's Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella.
Heikki Kovalainen of McLaren and Kazuki Nakajima of Williams F1 hold the sixth row. Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld of BMW Sauber own the seventh. Nelson Piquet of Renault, advancing from first qualifying for the first time this season, qualified 15th. Moving up to the eighth row after the Sutil penalty is Sebastien Buemi of Scudera Toro Rosso. Annoyed with himself, rookie Buemi said he made a mistake that cost him advancing to second qualifying. Fisichella qualified in 18th and moves up one to take the ninth row with Webber. Sutil and Sebastien Bourdais of Toro Rosso take the final row. Bourdais suffered driveshaft problems in practice.
Trulli toured the 3.3-mile Bahrain International Circuit, a track with long straights that is hard on brakes, in 1 minute, 33.431 seconds. Glock had reached 1:32.6 in practice and Vettel laid down a 1:32.5 in second qualifying.
"I was struggling with the brakes," Trulli said. "I was not able to brake the way I wanted. Nevertheless, I coudln't give up. I knew I had a good car and I could fight for pole. It was pretty nice to end up with first and second for the team especially."
Trulli dedicated the pole effort to the team and to his home region of Abruzzo, Italy, which recently suffered serious earthquake damage.
Glock said he was surprised -- but happy -- with his quick pace in practice. A shifting wind made the car "pointy and nervous" in first qualifying, he said. As for the final pole push, he said he knew he wasn't quick enough to beat his teammate. A mistake didn't help.
"I'm happy for the team," Glock said. "We've had a hard time the past two weeks. The first four races have been really, really hard. This has been really good for the team."
A smiling -- what else? -- Vettel said the first session was "tight" with everyone needing to use both tire types, supersoft and medium, a fact that helped improve grip by the second session. Vettel needed only one lap in that session, the day's fastest. By the final, third, qualifying, when the RB5 had no problems, "I think the Toyotas were just too quick," Vettel said. He implied the TF109s are on a light fuel load. "For tomorrow, though, I reckon they pull in a bit earlier," he said.
Trulli wouldn't be drawn on fuel loads or pit strategy. He expressed confidence about bagging Toyota's first victory but kept a weather eye toward his brakes as a potential trouble spot.