Final Practice - Vettel and Rosberg at the last minute 29 May 2010
Things really hotted up in Istanbul Park in Saturday morning practice, even though the track and ambient temperatures were cooler than yesterday.
A flurry of late activity saw many of the leading runners having serious problems with the notorious Turn Eight, with the spin of the day award going to Lewis Hamilton who did what Felipe Massa did yesterday only a lot faster. The outer kerb bit him between the second and third apexes, but the greater momentum of the McLaren carried it backwards into the gravel. The marshals pushed him out, and he limped back to the pits, shades of Gilles Villeneuve, with all four tyres totally flat-spotted through to the carcass and three of them flapping rubber.
Subsequently, Hamilton returned to the track to set the fastest time in 1m 27.396s. When Sebastian Vettel speared off the road and ran round the run-off area in Turn Eight on his last attempt to go fast it seemed that Hamilton's time would hold up, but Vettel got one lap more and sliced the benchmark down to 1m 27.086s.
On his last lap Nico Rosberg also beat the Englishman, but without any drama, as a super-smooth lap in his Mercedes stopped the clocks in 1m 27.359s.
Behind Hamilton, Mark Webber had lots of drama in terms of technical glitches and then errors, finally spinning in Turn Eight while trying to beat the 1m 27.553s lap that left him in fourth place.
Robert Kubica avoided trouble take an unobtrusive fifth for Renault in 1m 27.784s, pushing Fernando Alonso down a place. The Spaniard lapped his Ferrari in 1m 27.861s. Then came Michael Schumacher in 1m 27.879s in the second Mercedes, Jenson Button in 1m 27.963s in the second McLaren and Massa in the second Ferrari in 1m 27.969s.
Vitaly Petrov completed the top 10 with 1m 28.344s for Renault, chased by Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso on 1m 28.610s, Pedro de la Rosa's BMW Sauber on 1m 28.652s and Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso on 1m 28.734s. Kamui Kobayashi went off in Turn Five while trying to improve on 1m 29.036s in his BMW Sauber, and was just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg's Williams on 1m 29.044s. Tonio Liuzzi's was the sole Force India to run as Adrian Sutil experienced a hydraulic leak after his installation lap which could not be fixed in time. The Italian recorded 1m 29.211s for 16th ahead of Rubens Barrichello in 1m 29.305s for Williams.
It was Jarno Trulli's turn to be fastest of the new team runners after he lapped his Lotus in 1m 30.618s, and team mate Heikki Kovalainen was close behind with 1m 30.864s.
Timo Glock got back in control at Virgin with a lap of 1m 31.341s, with team mate Lucas di Grassi nearly a second further back on 1m 32.180s. Karun Chandhok was HRT's pacesetter today with 1m 32.230s, and Bruno Senna was 23rd on 1m 32.762s.
If Turn Eight continues to be malignant this afternoon, there could be some surprises in qualifying.