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Istanbul Qualifying

I told you Massa was coming good. All weekend he has been on Schumacher’s pace and it was no surprise to me that he grabbed pole in the last few minutes of qualifying. In the race, of course, it will be different – Michael will gravitate to the front and Felipe will ride shotgun.

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa

Ferrari and Bridgestone still have their advantage in the heat, obviously, but Renault should take heart from the fact that they are back at the front of the Michelin runners. The gap closes and Alonso should be in with a chance of retaining his championship at the end of the year.

BMW Sauber continue to improve and benefited from Ralf Schumacher’s ten-place demotion from fifth, with Heidfeld inheriting Ralf’s position and Kubica in eighth. Jenson Button looked very fast in the Honda but had slipped down to sixth by the end. I suspect that he will have a good race tomorrow with the team still on a high after Hungary.

The surprise of the session was the disappointing form of the McLarens, Raikkonen managing only seventh and de la Rosa missing the second cut in eleventh. It seems this season that as fast as McLaren make improvements, their rivals do the same. For Mercedes, it must be especially galling to see BMW ease past them.

Michael must be favorite for the race win and a Ferrari one-two looks quite likely too. But racing is a funny old game and usually confounds our best guesses. So I’ll not make any prediction but admit that I would dearly love to see the Honda team amaze themselves and everyone else with another win for Jenson Button.

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