Sebastian Vettel denied Jenson Button pole position for the Turkish Grand Prix after winning a superb battle at the end of qualifying.
The result is a major boost for the Red Bull driver's fast-fading title hopes, with Vettel now 28 points behind Button in the standings after crashing in Monaco.
Vettel had been quickest in both Q1 and Q2, and then led the early running in Q3 by less than a tenth of a second over Button's Brawn and Jarno Trulli's Toyota. But all the main contenders made big improvements on their second Q3 runs, and Vettel was soon pushed back as first his teammate Mark Webber, then Button grabbed provisional pole.
It looked like Button might be on course for his fifth pole of the season, but Vettel dug deep on his final lap and managed to edge ahead of the points leader by 0.105 second.
Rubens Barrichello improved from a poor first Q3 run to take third in the second Brawn, ahead of Webber, who had just one attempt at getting from Q2 to Q3 after an error at Turn 8 on his initial flying lap. Trulli ended up fifth, eight places ahead of his teammate Timo Glock.
Ferrari only managed sixth and seventh positions, as Felipe Massa never looked like challenging for a fourth straight pole at the track despite his strong practice form.
Fernando Alonso (Renault) and Nico Rosberg (Williams) just squeezed into Q3 with their final Q2 runs and took eighth and ninth on the grid, with BMW showing better form than of late as Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld claimed 10th and 11th.
McLaren's promising Friday times did not translate into better qualifying pace, as for the second race in a row Lewis Hamilton failed to get past Q1. This time it was purely a lack of speed that left him mired in 16th, as the World Champion repeatedly tried and failed to find the 0.040sec that would have got him into the next session. Heikki Kovalainen fared only slightly better -- reaching Q2 but having to settle for 14th.
Force India achieved its Q2 target for a second successive race as Adrian Sutil took 15th, beating his Giancarlo Fisichella by half a second in Q1. That left the Italian between the two struggling Toro Rossos in 19th.
Nelson Piquet was the other driver eliminated early, citing brake problems after first half-spinning at Turn 8 and then later plunging into the Turn 3 gravel -- all of which left him 17th on the grid.TIMES:
Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:27.330 1:27.016 1:28.316
2. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:27.355 1:27.230 1:28.421
3. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:27.371 1:27.418 1:28.579
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:27.466 1:27.416 1:28.613
5. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:27.529 1:27.195 1:28.666
6. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:27.556 1:27.387 1:28.815
7. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:27.508 1:27.349 1:28.858
8. Alonso Renault (B) 1:27.988 1:27.473 1:29.075
9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:27.517 1:27.418 1:29.191
10. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:27.788 1:27.455 1:29.357
11. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:27.795 1:27.521
12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:27.691 1:27.629
13. Glock Toyota (B) 1:28.160 1:27.795
14. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:28.199 1:28.207
15. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:28.278 1:28.391
16. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:28.318
17. Piquet Renault (B) 1:28.582
18. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:28.708
19. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:28.717
20. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:28.918
All Timing Unofficial