Next: Hungarian GP 27-29 July

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took a comfortable victory at the Turkish Grand Prix, his third of the season and his most dominant so far. Mark Webber made it Red Bull's first one-two victory of the season after passing Fernando Alonso, who finished third, with six laps to go.

Alonso and Webber had a race-long battle for second place once early front runners Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton fell by the wayside with compromised strategies. Alonso originally passed Webber on lap 27 around the outside at turn 12 and looked likely to hold on to second place until the pair swapped to a second set of hard tyres at the final stop. Webber was in the ascendancy on the new rubber and took the position back after another wheel-to-wheel battle at turn 12. Nevertheless, the result was a positive one for Alonso and heralds the start of Ferrari's fight back this season.

Hamilton had a poor start and then a sticking wheel nut at his third stop ruled out any hope of a podium. He finished fourth, 40 seconds behind Vettel, and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted the weekend had not gone to plan. Rosberg, who was running second at the start and contributed to Vettel's early lead, recovered from a mid-race slump on hard tyres to finish fifth.

Jenson Button was the highest placed three-stopper but his strategy worked against him for most of the afternoon and towards the end of the race he made no attempt to fend off Hamilton and Rosberg for position. He had a tight battle with team-mate Hamilton at the start of the race - both drivers making passing moves with the aid of the drag reduction system - but ultimately it lost both of them time.

The Renaults of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov finished seventh and eighth, coming out on top in an incredibly tight midfield battle. At one stage the two Renaults went wheel-to-wheel into turn 13 and Petrov almost pushed Heidfeld into the pit lane. At the chequered flag only 1.4 seconds separated them.

Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi finished a solid ninth after running as high as seventh at one point on a three-stop strategy. It was a good result, but 8.6 seconds behind him Kamui Kobayashi was even more impressive, driving from last place on the grid to tenth. The Sauber driver was helped by having three sets of fresh soft tyres available to him and by the time he had finished his long first stint on hards, he took full advantage of the new rubber and fought his way through the pack.

Outside the points Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher both had very difficult afternoons, finishing 11th and 12th respectively. Massa's race started to fall apart when he attempted to hold off Button and destroyed his front tyres under braking. That compromised his strategy and then a very slow final pit stop, in which he was spinning his rear axle while his mechanic was trying to fit the wheel, ruled out any hope of points.

Schumacher, who started from eighth, found himself in a number of scrapes with other drivers that he probably should have backed out of. The first and most costly came with Petrov as the pair collided in turn 12 and Schumacher came off worse with a broken front wing. After the race he admitted he should have given the Renault more room.

Vettel now leads the championship by 34 points from Hamilton and 38 from team-mate Webber.

The Turkish Grand Prix
Istanbul, Turkey;
58 laps; 309.396km;
Weather: Sunny.

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h30:17.558
 2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +     8.807
 3.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +    10.075
 4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    40.232
 5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    47.539
 6.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +    59.431
 7.  Heidfeld      Renault                    +  1:00.857
 8.  Petrov        Renault                    +  1:08.168
 9.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:09.300
10.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:18.000
11.  Massa         Ferrari                    +  1:19.800
12.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +  1:25.400
13.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +     1 lap
14.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +     1 lap
15.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +     1 lap
16.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap
17.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth          +     1 lap
18.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault              +     1 lap
19.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault              +    2 laps
20.  D'Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +    2 laps
21.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +    3 laps
22.  Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth               +    5 laps

Fastest lap: Mark Webber, 1:29.703

Not classified/retirements:
Driver        Team                         On lap
Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes         45
Glock         Virgin-Cosworth              1

World Championship standings, round 4:                
Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Vettel        93        1.  Red Bull-Renault          148
 2.  Hamilton      59        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          105
 3.  Webber        55        3.  Ferrari                    65
 4.  Button        46        4.  Renault                    42
 5.  Alonso        41        5.  Mercedes                   26
 6.  Massa         24        6.  Sauber-Ferrari              8
 7.  Petrov        21        7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6
 8.  Heidfeld      21        8.  Force India-Mercedes        4
 9.  Rosberg       20       
10.  Kobayashi      8       
11.  Buemi          6       
12.  Schumacher     6       
13.  Sutil          2       
14.  Di Resta       2