F1 Turkey Results and Race Report: Hamilton Makes McLaren 1-2 as Vettel & Webber’s Infighting Costs Red Bull Dearly


What Happens When Team Orders Might Need a Comeback

9:42am EST — Lewis Hamilton won the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix with teammate Jenson Button making a McLaren 1-2 in a race threatened by rain after a sunny start, which involved an intra-team squabble that ended in heartbreak for Sebastian Vettel, who ended his own race fighting for the lead with teammate Webber, who salvaged third.  Michael Schumacher finished fourth, Nico Rosberg fifth.  Fernando Alonso moved up to eighth behind teammate Felipe Massa from his twelfth place start, with both Ferrari’s spending a good  portion of the race fighting sixth and fifteenth place finishers Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov, the Russian forced back after having to pit for a tire punctured fighting with Alonso a few laps from the end.

Mark Webber won another pole on an overcast and windy Saturday qualifying in Istanbul, keeping Lewis Hamilton behind him on their final laps in Q3 and the Red Bull qualifying dominance intact.  Sebastian Vettel started third with a time a half second slower than his teammate, due to a broken sway bar; with Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher the top five.  Schumacher kept his fifth (ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg in sixth) despite a spin and getting stuck in the gravel at Turn 8 on his own last lap and ruining the possible times for those behind him.  Fernando Alonso was unable to make it to Q3, having a severe wiggle at Turn 12 with one lap’s time left in Q2.  His Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa will started eighth, despite his soft tires.  Lucas di Grassi started from the pit lane after changing the engine due to a problem.

The grid got away on a sunny and clear day in Turkey, with both Red Bull’s leading into the first turn with a quick start from Button, though Schumacher moved him none too gently aside for fourth while Hamilton took Vettel for second and Button retook fourth from Schumacher at Turn 12.  Further back on L2, Sutil dove past Kobayashi for tenth, and as the Japanese fought back, Alonso looked to get both of them and then just Kobayashi, but he remained in twelfth, having lost a position on the first lap.  Buemi had also pitted with a right rear puncture.

At the front, Webber remained unable to break free from Hamilton, who kept looking for a way past but was not successful.  Behind Vettel in third, Button had pulled away from Schumacher, who had teammate Rosberg close behind in sixth.  The fight at the front was, for a few laps, reduced to watching the gap change by the fraction of a second while Massa had his own fight, attempting to get around Kubica for seventh.  Sutil had passed Kobayashi and Alonso was worrying the young driver unafraid to fight for position with anyone.  Meanwhile, Barrichello had radioed his Williams engineers saying that Liuzzi, just ahead of him in fifteenth, had a loose bit of rear wing that looked as though it might drop of in front of him.

Ten laps into the fifty-eight lap race and Webber still led Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Schumacher, Rosberg, Kubica, Massa, Petrov and Sutil as the top ten.  L10 brough both Kobayashi and Barrichello into the pits, both on soft tires and switching to the hard compound.  Alonso pitted on L12, having been stuck in twelfth since the start.  Petrov, Sutil, and de la Rosa were in the next lap as the soft tires seemed to have given up the ghost for all but the top four drivers, who were still trading fastest laps amongst themselves.  The top eight runners had yet to stop, all of thirteen laps into the race with this race to the pit lane, then seventh and eighth place runners Kubica and Massa also stopped, and returned to the circuit with Kubica still ahead by fractions, with a barely quicker stop by Renault.  Alonso had gained a postion in his stop, getting ahead of Kobayashi and Sutil after their stops.

Vettel pitted on L15, with Schumacher stopping as he came around as well.  Webber and Hamilton pitted at the same time, with the crews frantically changing tires.  McLaren had a small time issue on the right rear, keeping Hamilton just long enough for Webber to get past in the pitlane and Vettel to take the Briton’s position on track as Button assumed the lead, not yet having stopped, but about to with a loss of rear grip.  Vettel was only a half second behind Webber, in second as Button returned the lead to Webber.  Button rejoined just behind Hamilton, slotting into fourth.  Hamilton’s engineer calming reminded him that there were only forty laps to go and to remain sensible about his tires.

Just after that radio message was re-broadcast for the world feed, Hamilton threw caution to the wind and attacked Vettel at Turn 12, but did not manage a pass, locking up his left front and simply unable to complete the move.  Meanwhile, rain was building and approaching the track, which could easily turn the race upside-down.  Twenty laps into the race and with most of the runners having pitted, Webber led Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Schumacher, Rosberg, Kubica, Massa, Petrov, and Alonso as the top ten.  Three seconds covered the top four, with Schumacher another seventeen and a half seconds behind Button as rain threatened to arrive in fifteen minutes, and the sun became patchy on the circuit.

The tension built while the rain approached, especially with the unknown nature of the rain.  Heavy rain would require full wets, but only light rain, and particularly only patchy rain would only require inters.  Of course, quite light and only patchy rain might allow some runners to sty on dry tires and attempt to muddle through.  At the same time, Mike Gascoyne at Lotus noted, “Shower may just miss the circuit, monitering [sic] on the radar,” adding that the forecast arrival time had been moved back by five minutes.  With thirty laps to go, Rosberg, in sixth, had Kubica, Massa, Petrov, and Alonso all behind him and just tenths between each car.  Webber still led Vettel, Hamilton, Button, and Schumacher as the top five, all still covered by three seconds.

As the laps ticked by, the most exciting on-track running happened to be between di Grassi and Senna for 22nd position, though the timing between the top four made for fascinating watching, each driver losing or gaining a tenth here and there, while watching the screen for droplets of rain, which remained in the clouds and not on the track as the forecasted arrival time got later and later.  Jarno Trulli was the first retirement, thirty five laps into the race, having pulled off the track and his Lotus teammate Heikki Kovalainen retired into the garage, leaving room for another new team to take up the mantle of leading new team.  Gascoyne explained that it was “Double Hydraulic failure on both cars, unbelievable.”

With twenty laps to go, Alonso remained very close behind Petrov, but unable to to get past the Russian with the Renault’s development so far this season.  Vettel was close behind Webber, with the McLarens of Hamilton and Button drawing closer and closer to the leading Red Bulls, all well over thirty-six seconds ahead of Schumacher in fifth.  Vettel, in a daring attempt to pass Webber, got too close as Webber protected his position somewhat, and the two collided as Vettel turned right just enough to get into Webber’s sidepod, which spun Vettel off and ended his race, also allowing Hamilton and Button past Webber, though he kept third.  After getting out, Vettel made the universal sign for crazy next to his head, both before and after he took his helmet off.  Webber came into the pit to chagne his nose and tires, returning to soft tires and staying in third (thirty seconds behind Button) as rain appeared to behind dropping down in the pit lane.

While leading with about fifteen laps to go, Hamilton was informed by McLaren that he should conserve fuel, which could make for another interesting inter-team battle for the lead.  As Vettel returned to the pitlane, the reporters jousting to speak to him were firmly rebuffed by Red Bull team members.  Hamilton led Button, Webber, Schumacher, Rosberg, Kubica, Massa, Petrov, Alonso, and Kobayashi as the top ten with ten laps to go as the rain began lazily and sporadically dropping down.  Vettel came out to speak to the media, presumably after a calming talk from Red Bull staff.

The McLaren drivers decided to put on a show of how to fight one’s own teammate, with very close driving and Button getting Hamilton and then Hamilton fighting back, the two driving through the final complex side-by-side, and Hamilton returning to the lead through Turn 1, with no bodywork flying despite a hard touch to the front wing, and both drivers staying on the track and keeping all of their points.  Meanwhile, Alguersuari, down in thirteenth, was setting fastest laps of the race.  With only eight laps to go and thirteen seconds behind de la Rosa, there was no position but pride to be gained.  McLaren also informed Button that he needed to save fuel and tires, as they had told Hamilton earlier.

Five laps to go, and the sun appeared to be shining, at least in spots.  The report came from Vettel, who seemed to be only saying that he was disappointed and that he appeared to be unable to run wheel to wheel with Webber.  For eighth, Alonso was fighting Petrov and unable to get around him, but not for lack of trying and occasionally no space between the two.  Webber soon set a race fastest lap, running down the short on fuel McLaren’s as much as possible on his fresh soft tires with four laps to go.  Alonso also managed to get around Petrov, despite yet another fight that involved touching of the cars, which actually punctured Petrov’s right front.  Hamilton and Button did have enough fuel to finish the race, coming home one-two, with Webber another twenty-plus seconds behind.

Final Positions for the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix:
1. Hamilton
2. Button +2.6
3. Webber +24.2
4. Schumacher +31.1
5. Rosberg +32.2
6. Kubica +32.8
7. Massa +36.6
8. Alonso +46.5
9. Sutil +49.0
10. Kobayashi +65.6
11. de la Rosa +65.9
12. Alguersuari +67.8
13. Liuzzi + 1 lap
14. Barrichello + 1 lap
15. Petrov + 1 lap
16. Buemi + 1 lap
17. Hulkenberg + 1 lap
18. Glock + 3 laps
19. di Grassi + 3 laps
20. Chandhok + 6 laps
Senna
Vettel
Kovalainen
Trulli

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3 Comments

  1. The wholehearted public outpouring of support for Webber shows how people feel about the RBR drivers coming to grief in Turkey. I cannot believe that the RBR guys are still pinning the blame on Webber for this incident.

    Vettel has had no answer to Webber’s good run of results in the last three races and he obviously felt compelled to prove a point. How Webber and Vettel deal with this incident in Canada will be very interesting. This season just keeps getting better and better.

  2. The Red Bull car has proven great. And I don’t full understand how the team have dealt with this situation internally.
    I’ve got a sneaky suspicion though, possibly this is the begining of the end of Webber’s time at Red Bull, and the first domino to fall int he chain reaction that brings Kimi back from the rallying wilderness?

  3. Relativity: You’re right, I think. Best way to tell (especially after all this back and forth in press releases) is to see the racing in Canada.

    Rob: I’m not sure RBR understand how they’ve dealt with the situation internally…word was that Webber had already signed for 2011 with Red Bull, but who knows in the wacky word of F1?


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