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My Turkish Grand Prix predictions

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Jonathan Legard | 17:43 UK time, Friday, 5 June 2009

It is a tall order in Formula 1 to beat Brawn Grand Prix because they seem to flourish wherever they go and whatever the weather.

Their English championship leader, Jenson Button, is also in the form of his life as he looks for his fourth straight victory.

BUT I am going to tip Felipe Massa to delay the Button bandwagon at the Turkish Grand Prix.

In fact, I am picking the Ferrari pair at the head of my top eight predicted finishers in Istanbul.

1. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
3. Jenson Button (Brawn GP)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
5. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP)
6. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
7. Fernando Alonso (Renault)
8. Nico Rosberg (Williams)

When a driver is dialled into a track, like Massa is at the Istanbul Otodrom, that can be worth a couple of tenths of a second in performance.

The Brazilian has never been beaten in a Ferrari in Turkey and he has won the last three races here from pole position.

massa595.jpg

The second practice session in Turkey was hugely competitive - just 0.7 seconds covered the top 16, which is remarkable.

Neither Massa (11th fastest) nor his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen's (15th) times are particularly eye-catching.

But talking to people behind the scenes, and taking into account their fuel loads during practice, I expect Massa to be right up there.

Both Ferraris also have the advantage of the kinetic energy recovery system (Kers) and the extra boost of power could be a huge benefit over the Brawns, which do not have Mercedes's system installed, particularly up the hill from Turn Nine.

Raikkonen is the only other driver to have taken the chequered flag in Turkey - for McLaren in 2005.

The Finn tellingly said after practice: "There is still work to do in the car but I am confident, I think we will find the right solutions to be competitive on Sunday."

I don't think Button will be eclipsed this season; this is certainly not the end of the road for Brawn and his title challenge.

When you have team principal Ross Brawn pulling the strings on the strategy he could easily make me look a mug!

But I still think the Brawns may meet their match on a dry track for the first time this season in the shape of the red machines of Ferraris.

Vettel is undoubtedly quick; he was fourth in the first practice session and fifth in the second spell.

But he was forced to stop his Red Bull after just three completed laps because of engine vibrations and that lack of running could cost him.

I am picking Barrichello to come home in fifth place behind Vettel just because he is running with the magic Brawn and Ross Brawn combination.

Red Bull are looking good on this circuit so I'm backing Webber to collect some solid points in sixth place.

Apparently, the Renault and Fernando Alonso are managing the tricky soft tyres better than one else out there and that will prove very useful in garnering another decent finish.

Rosberg showed prominently on Friday by topping the timesheets in first practice and his Williams team are hopeful some new aerodynamic additions will boost their performance this weekend.

Williams and Rosberg both need to prove a point - and if he wants to be considered a front-line driver he needs to perform as strongly as he can.

In sharp contrast to the picturesque street circuit of Monaco, Turkey is a track where cars stretch their legs.

It demands much more of the car than the drivers, so once again we wait to see who will conquer on Sunday.

Comments

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  • 1. At 6:14pm on 05 Jun 2009, R9naldo_Corinthians wrote:

    I dont think massa will win this weekend, but he will probably be on the podium. ill go for button,massa,kimi,rubens in that order

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  • 2. At 6:40pm on 05 Jun 2009, GFasulo wrote:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I agree that Massa is favourite for the win. I hope, as a Ferrari fan, you're predictions come to fruition.

    1. Felipe Massa
    2. Jenson Button
    3. Kimi Raikkonen
    4. Rubens Barrichello
    5. Mark Webber
    6. Sebastian Vettel
    7. Lewis Hamilton
    8. Fernando Alonso

    Enjoy the weekend.

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  • 3. At 7:25pm on 05 Jun 2009, paulstevens1988 wrote:

    Oh Jonathan.

    You have no idea. I dont want to be rude but the prediction is a poor one.

    1. Jenson Button
    2. Sebastian Vettel
    3. Rubens Barrichello
    4. Felipe Massa
    5. Kimi Raikkonen
    6. Lewis Hamilton
    7. Mark Webber
    8. Fernando Alonso

    Bring on the weekend baby!

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  • 4. At 7:42pm on 05 Jun 2009, Nels180 wrote:

    Mmmm, can't say I can agree with you Jonathan. Massa has done very well in Turkey the last 3 years, but on each occasion he was in the Best car at that stage of the Championship - 2006 it was just after the Renault's Mass-Damper was banned, and 2007/2008 the Ferrari was arguably the most consistent car. This year so far the BGP is the most competetive, and while the Friday practice times don't show it I would wager with considerable confidence on another Brawn 1-2, possibly Ruebens ahead of Jenson, we'll have to see.

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  • 5. At 7:58pm on 05 Jun 2009, tranquility2k9 wrote:

    Jonathan im really intruiged to find out why you didn't include either of the Mclarens in your top 8 after they have both showed promising signs in the opening practice sessesions and on top of that Hamilton has made his most positive media statements of the season about the car.

    Maybe your thinking is that Lewis may spin off due to his aggressive driving style and lack of grip? although im sure he will not make that same mistake here at this race after Monaco.

    My predictions before todays practice (posted on Legards race preview) were this:

    "My predictions for the race are as follows:

    1. Vettel
    2. Massa
    3. Barichello
    4. Webber
    5. Raikkonen
    6. Truilli
    7. Hamilton
    8. Alonso

    I feel that it will be hard fought between Red Bull, Ferrari and Brawn with Jenson crashing out at some stage (hopefully) and I think the Red Bulls will show their pace this weekend with Ferarri close behind. I also think that Toyota will come good again on a faster track with Hamilton and Alonso grabbing the last two because they are the best two drivers! (CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THEM BOTH FIGHT IT OUT AGAIN AT THE TOP AND DEMOLISH EVERYONE ELSE)

    I also expect Rosberg to be there or there abouts as he has been impresive lately, so maybe he'll be another to get in the top 8."

    I'm not going to change those predictions too much although Hamilton may lift a little higher, maybe 4th or 5th! (hopefully!)

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  • 6. At 8:08pm on 05 Jun 2009, Flick it Like Ramsey wrote:

    Massa
    Webber
    Vettel
    Button
    Alonso
    Barrichelo
    Trulli
    Kubica

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  • 7. At 8:12pm on 05 Jun 2009, FastBBBB wrote:

    Ferrari aren't dominant enough. McLaren have improved the most. Red Bull are similar to Monaco and Toyota have similar pace to RBR. Brawn are undecided.

    If Brawn solve their problems I expect the finish to be

    Button/Barrichello
    Button/Barrichello
    Massa
    Rosberg
    Hamilton
    Glock
    Trulli
    Kovalainen
    Raikkonen
    Alonso

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  • 8. At 8:19pm on 05 Jun 2009, FastBBBB wrote:

    Why are we hoping Button crashes?! I don't want Raikkonen to crash even though he is one of my least favorite drivers. Button is just too consistent and is driving like he Schumacher with Prost's driving style and Heidfeld's reliability. Dominant, smooth and brings the car home.

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  • 9. At 9:52pm on 05 Jun 2009, Hobo2004 wrote:

    Guys lay off Jonathan its a prediction and he could of been boring and predicted a Button victory. A Ferrari Victory will happen this season its a matter of time and Ferrari have a great recent history around the Istanbul track, and the only winners both now drive for them.

    I think it will be close with Mclaren and Ferrari further up, but no one will be good enough to beat Button, he looks in a different league to everyone except possibly Alonso.

    My prediction for the race are therefore as follows -

    1. Jenson Button
    2. Fillipe Massa
    3. Lewis Hamilton
    4. Reubens Barichello
    5. Kimi Raikkonen
    6. Fernando Alonso
    7. Mark Webber
    8. Nico Rosberg

    I think Vettel will run in the top 5, but got a feeling he may not finish. I think off the line the Kers cars will cause havoc and many changes in the 1st laps and will help Lewis and the Ferrari's.

    Hope everyone enjoys the race!

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  • 10. At 9:55pm on 05 Jun 2009, theblobinator wrote:

    something tells me Heikki Kovalainen is the one to watch. Should be a great weekend whoever is top.

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  • 11. At 10:37pm on 05 Jun 2009, Carlonso wrote:

    Dear all,

    I have just discovered that Kovelainen topped the practice session in Turkey....Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Hee Hee Hee Tee hee he ho Ho ho etc...
    I"ll predict he'll order a shish at the local bospherous kebab shop by lap 15 on sunday....
    mclaren's are no good.
    toyota's are no good.
    bmw's are stavros flatley and no good.
    force india god bless are no good.
    toro rosso's try hard to beat their big brother but they are no good.

    it doesn't take a GCSE maths exam to work out who's hot for this race, much to Bernie E's annoyance - he wants variety for his show and all he's getting so far is a one-trick pony team obliterating the bourgouisie off the field...

    this season reminds me of Norman Wisdom's character taking on Consolidated Dairies in "The Early Bird", Brawn are the little F1 company taking on the might of the Establishment.
    Is Ross Brawn Mr. Grimsdale?
    Is Jensen the Norman Wisdom of the track?
    Or are both Jensen and Rubens the Eric and Ernie or the Two Ronnies of F1?

    Anyway, I digress, for though the GCSE makes it easy to see who's hot and who's rot, working out the final position's is a bit Haydron collidorersque..so:

    1. a Brawn or Ferrari or Red Bull driver.
    2. a Brawn or Ferrari or Red Bull driver.
    3. a Brawn or Ferrari or Red Bull driver.
    4. a Brawn or Ferrari or Red Bull driver.
    5. a Brawn or Ferrari or Red Bull driver.
    6. a Brawn or Ferrari or Red Bull driver.
    7. Alonso - because he is a genius driving a clio
    8. Rosberg - because he's pretty for the girls and F1 need their TV audience.

    I hope I get a pass and move on to my F1 YTS.

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  • 12. At 11:08pm on 05 Jun 2009, Hammydiresta wrote:

    I think that this weekend is gonna be about Brawn yet again.

    I think it will finish like this:

    Button
    Barrichello
    Massa
    Vettel
    Webber
    Raikkonen
    Alonso
    Hamilton

    Can see it been any other way. But if Button fails to finish i'll be over the moon.

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  • 13. At 11:09pm on 05 Jun 2009, Carlonso wrote:

    ps. to all those Hamilton fans...

    this prodigy had it easy whilst having drunk from the milk that was Ron Dennis' breasts....
    he is an amazing talent and a fantastic driver.
    but he will only be a worthy champion by going through the doldrums that is facing him at Maclaren right now.
    it is through adversity that he will reign supreme... this is the season where he will learn more about his resolve and determination and above all the faults of his own team to equip himself with the mental and psychological tools to make him a future multiple world champion....but alas this will not be the case for there are many obstacles and obstructions in his racing career to make it thus... i have compiled an accurate list that will deny Hamilton his deserved destiny in F1 folklore:

    1. Alonso
    2. Ferrari with Alonso.
    3. Ferrari keeping Alonso till he's 35/36 years old.
    4. Vettel in the wet.
    5. another punk kid we don't know of yet that'll be better than the rest.

    so there you have it.and thanks to Timo for spinning out in the last corner to hand Lewis the crown. I can't wait to see him as the no. 2 driver at Maclaren next season..

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  • 14. At 11:12pm on 05 Jun 2009, lionihatethisgame wrote:

    Grid
    Barrichello
    Massa
    Button
    Webber
    Hamilton
    Raikkonen
    Vettel
    Rosberg
    Kovelainen
    Alonso

    Top Three
    Massa
    Barrichello
    Webber

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  • 15. At 00:16am on 06 Jun 2009, benalesi27 wrote:

    I have to agree with jonathan in the fact that ferrari will be quick so i am going for

    1,kimi raikkonen (go kimi go)
    2,felipe massa
    3,jenson button
    4,seb vettel
    5,rubens barrichello
    6,nico rosberg
    7,mark webber
    8,nelson piquet jr (dont laugh just a feeling i have)

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  • 16. At 00:26am on 06 Jun 2009, getridofJL wrote:

    JL - do you pick these names out of a hat to sound more interesting? What is the basis of your conclusion? Brawn are still miles ahead and sandbagging on Friday.

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  • 17. At 01:09am on 06 Jun 2009, TheamazingMrWhite wrote:

    I get the feeling that the Red Bull will be the fastest car. Theyve got the new diffuser in, monaco not being the place to show off a cars raw speed. Then again, if the Ferrari is fast enough, I wouldn't bet against Massa doing the job.

    My prediction:
    Vettel
    Massa
    Button

    But I will happily say that Carlonso's prediction, if not the most precise, is likely to be the most accurate!

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  • 18. At 01:18am on 06 Jun 2009, Tux789 wrote:

    I think the reason JL has kept the hamilton out of the top 8 this time is because of tyres. Remember he is very hard on tyres on this track usually and the aero package on his car imo will mean the problem is worse. Im going for Massa as he is fantastic at this track. So:

    1. Massa
    2. Button
    3. Vettel
    4. Raikonnen
    5. Barrichello
    6. Alonso
    7. Kovaleinen
    8. Trulli

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  • 19. At 03:37am on 06 Jun 2009, Kenny wrote:

    Massa may be fantastic in Istanbul but Ferrari just don't look there yet.
    Therefore i predict:-

    1.Button
    2.Barrichello
    3.Massa
    4.Vettel
    5.Raikkonen
    6.Webber
    7.Rosberg
    8.Glock

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  • 20. At 07:11am on 06 Jun 2009, smifffies wrote:

    As Brawn have been running full of fuel in practice so far (i.e. race pace) we have not seen their true pace. All the teams, and especially Ferrari are having problems on soft tyres, with the exception on Brawn. So predictions are:

    1. Rubens (gets his first win
    2. Jenson
    3. Webber
    4. Massa
    5. Raikkonen
    6. Alonso
    7. Rosberg
    8. Trulli

    Although Maclaren have seemed fast so far i don't think we have seen their true race pace yet and i think Toyota will have a better showing in Turkey which may lead to further improvements in standings for the rest of the season. I still think BMW have some way to go before they start getting solid results. I think Rubens will take the win because he is really hungry for it, but Jenson although Mr nice guy is a racer and will make him work for it.

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  • 21. At 08:22am on 06 Jun 2009, Jyvaskyla (BEng) wrote:

    Looks like we are thinking along the same lines Jonny, I had to submit my prediction for top six in a sweepstake I do after first practise, our top four are identical, mind I think something will befall Rubens (first corner maybe) so have Webber 5th and Glock 6th, time will tell...

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  • 22. At 08:30am on 06 Jun 2009, Millerfred wrote:

    I think Massa will win! Kovalainen is also quick at Turkey so watch out for him. Here are my predictions:

    1:) F.Massa
    2:) J.Button
    3:) R.Barrichello
    4:) K.Raikonen
    5:) S.Vettel
    6:) M.Webber
    7:) H.Kovalainen
    8:) L.Hamilton

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  • 23. At 08:38am on 06 Jun 2009, liverpoolrulesyeah wrote:

    1. Barrichello
    2. Massa
    3. Button
    4. Vettel
    5. Kovalainen
    6. Raikonen
    7. Webber
    8. Hamilton

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  • 24. At 08:40am on 06 Jun 2009, jonny-alpha wrote:

    "Their English championship leader, Jenson Button"
    ENGLISH!
    Is that an English flag beside his name in the championship leader board?
    Is that an English flag lifted behing Button at the end of each race?
    NO!
    Typical BBC sporting comment... He's a BRITISH driver.
    Legards web reports are as bad as his commentary, except he doesn't have Brundle here to correct his gaffs!
    Massa to win?
    I'd love it but doubt very much it'll happen, he'll need more than a couple of tenths 'dailled in' to beat the Brawns in a straight fight.

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  • 25. At 10:23am on 06 Jun 2009, tranquility2k9 wrote:

    jonny-alpha, Jenson is English, he is very patriotic and im sure he'd prefer being referred to as being English. It annoys me that whenever you have a Welsh or Scottish sportstar, they'll usually get referred to an awful lot as being Welsh or Scottish, yet when someone is English, they always have to be referred to as British, so the other less talented nations don't feel so left out.

    I am English, it's a shame we can't have an English flag when Jenson or Hamilton wins and as much as I like DC im sure in reality he'd be proudest if he had the scottish flag flying upon his past victories.

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  • 26. At 10:24am on 06 Jun 2009, goldMarkL1 wrote:

    Massa quickest again in P3, I take it all of you are going to eat humble pie?

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  • 27. At 10:32am on 06 Jun 2009, tranquility2k9 wrote:

    Massa was quickest, I definetely think he'll qualify in top 3 unless he has some major catastrophe, then with KERS he could well win this race.

    Also, do you guys feel that Red Bull + possibly Mclaren were just testing through the majority of 3rd practice and thats why they were a bit off the pace? Mclaren have seemed to be testing various strategies, so I do think they are quicker than they may seem from 3rd practice. Lewis said last night that he fully expected to make Q3.

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  • 28. At 10:48am on 06 Jun 2009, Mustard wrote:

    Why did ever sentence get given its own paragraph? Paragraphing correctly is taught to primary school children and yet Jonathan can't do it.

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  • 29. At 10:57am on 06 Jun 2009, Jim wrote:

    I think it might finish like this.

    1. Massa
    2. Button
    3. Barrichello
    4. Vettel
    5. Hamilton
    6. Rosberg
    7. Kovalainen
    8. Alonso

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  • 30. At 11:06am on 06 Jun 2009, roballen1975 wrote:

    My mate is positive Massa will win, taking into consideration his history in Turkey. However I cant help feeling the Red Bulls, and especially Vettel, are over due a win. Still Button just still feels to good to be true, maybe like him, I cant believe how good they actually are!! Money on Vettel, but come on Button.

    1. Vettel
    2. Button
    3. Massa
    4. Webber

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  • 31. At 2:58pm on 06 Jun 2009, paulstevens1988 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 32. At 10:34am on 07 Jun 2009, gemgems77 wrote:

    Can I just refer to some of Legard's technical language I sometimes fail to understand during qualifying and the race day such as 'wibbly, wobbly laps' and literally just reading out the classification, let Martin talk more, he knows what he's talking about and knows possibly just about everybody in the business (wouldnt mind having his phonebook).
    Extra homework for Jonathon, learn which drivers are which...I feel this is vital as an f1 commentator.

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  • 33. At 10:37am on 07 Jun 2009, Porkermc wrote:

    Johnathan, you have either not seen the fuel loads or are trying to stir the pot. I am a Ferrari man, but I cannot see a 1-2 for today.
    Barring any incidents on the first corner it is going to be a Brawn and Red Bull battle with Ferrari nipping at their heels. I see Button taking the win, even if Vettel can get away at the start I think Button with his smooth driving will have the tires to take him past Vettel in the pits. The Red bull seems to eat those rear tires. I really hope Ferrari can pounce with Kers at the start. They could then get one on to the podium, Massa is glorious on this track. I do fear Ferrari might try the soft tires at start to get off the line, I just pray they do not deteriorate to fast!
    So, I say:
    1)Button
    2)Vettel
    3)Massa
    4)Barrichello
    5)Webber
    6)Raikonen
    7)Trulli
    8)Rosberg

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  • 34. At 11:36am on 07 Jun 2009, howiewow wrote:

    Does anyone know why drivers have a map of the circuit in thier cars, They seem to know thier way around fairly well so it can't be for directions. And why do they always say 'for sure'?

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  • 35. At 5:33pm on 09 Jun 2009, KhairuI wrote:

    Hi Jonathan,

    No offence to you mate (you're a great commentator) but could you ask the BBC to get Murray Walker to commentate on the forthcoming British Grand Prix? You know as well as I do what a historic and major event it is, and as it's the last at Silverstone I think it will be a fitting tribute to allow him to see it off. Thanks.

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  • 36. At 5:35pm on 09 Jun 2009, KhairuI wrote:

    Support for Murray Walker to commentate on the British Grand Prix:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/Murray09/petition.html
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 37. At 11:20pm on 09 Jun 2009, getridofJL wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 38. At 10:53pm on 12 Jun 2009, GB_Paul wrote:

    - A GUEST APPEARANCE BY MURRAY WALKER ON THE BBC FOR THE BRITIS GP 2009.

    Copy & paste at end of you blog

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