F1 Turkey Race Results & Report: Vettel Tops Again While the Rest Fight It Out

What Happens When It’s the Rest of the Field That Entertains

10:02am EST — Sebastian Vettel continued his domination in the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix, winning and having such a gap that he pitted twice without losing the lead. Mark Webber Finished second, with a charging Fernando Alonso in the final podium position. The two spent a good section of the race dicing, with Webber finally taking second with a few laps left. Lewis Hamilton, fighting with teammate Jenson Button, and Nico Rosberg completed the top five. Though no driver retired from crash damage, there was plenty of forceful racing throughout the field, most notably by Kamui Kobayashi. The Japanese driver started on the last row and finished in the points, in tenth position.

Vettel set his pole time (1:25.049) before sitting out the latter half of Q3 in the Red Bull garage during Saturday’s qualifying. He and fellow front row starter Webber were out of their cars and left the other drivers to scrap over the rest of the top ten positions. Rosberg and Hamilton completed the second row, with Alonso, Button, Petrov, Schumacher, Heidfeld, and Massa the rest of the top ten. There were no major incidents during the sunny and warm qualifying session, though Kobayashi’s day was ruined when an issue kept him from setting a single lap time. He qualified twenty-fourth, though he will start twenty-third after a five-place penalty dropped Virgin Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio down from twentieth to twenty-fourth.

Saturday was a quick day for Vettel, as he also led the times in the morning practice, narrowly beating Schumacher to the top of the timesheets. Webber, Rosberg, and Button completed the fastest five behind the younger and older German. Both Ferrari drivers had issues in that morning practice, with a hydraulic issue nagging Alonso from Friday, and Massa undergoing a precautionary engine change before qualifying. Friday, though, was a terrible day for both Vettel and Red Bull. In the first very wet, very slippery Friday morning practice, Vettel went too far over a kerb and was slung across the track to heavily damage his car. The work required was extensive enough that Vettel also sat out the afternoon session. Alonso led the wet session, and fell to eleventh fastest in the dry and cool Friday afternoon session. It was Button who led that session, followed by two thirds of the Mercedes power in the paddock.

For the second race in a row, a team was caught out with an issue just before gridding, as “A disappointing gearbox problem surfaced on lap to grid. Frantic efforts underway to start Timo from the pit lane,” for Virgin Racing. Glock’s car would not be repaired quickly enough, and he would not directly mkae the start. The race began under a clear blue sky, with some windy conditions keeping the temperature somewhere between that experienced Friday and Saturday afternoon.

Vettel took the lead, but Webber had yet another terrible start, losing second to Rosberg. Hamilton went wide further back, only to lose position to his teammate. Alonso moved up a position to fourth, with Schumacher moving up to seventh early on. At the end, Kobayashi was already up five positions. By the end of the first lap, Vettel led Rosberg by 1.2s, with Webber, Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Schumacher, Petrov, Heidfeld, and Massa the top ten, none of whom were separated by more than a few tenths. Hamilton was soon looking racy, attempting take position from teammate Button. He did not, though behind them Petrov and Schumacher were fighting over seventh, leaving Schumacher with a damaged front wing and requiring a dive into the pit. Earlier, Perez was also into the pit lane for a new front wing.

Vettel’s lead over Rosberg continued to grow as Webber continued to close on Rosberg. He passed Rosberg through the DRS zone, though Rosberg had a though of holding him off. By the end of L5, Vettel led Webber, Rosberg, Alonso, and Button. In two sets of dueling cars, Alonso and Rosberg were back and forth for third while, less than two seconds behind, Button and Hamilton fought for fifth. At some points, it was difficult to know which battle to watch within the same camera angle. Alonso finally took Rosberg through the DRS zone, even as Rosberg wanted to retake the position. Barely later and a bit further back, Hamilton continued to battle his teammate, with Massa closing behind.

Petrov pitted on L8, possibly due to damage sustained during his brush with Schumacher, who was in nineteenth after his own stop. A bevy of drivers soon began pitting on the next lap, including Massa, Hamilton (who he had just passed), and Buemi. Hamilton beat Massa on the stop, with the Ferrari driver attempting to race him down pit lane. The Brazilian conceded the position. On the next lap, Webber, Alonso, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Barrichello, and Sutil all stopped and shook up the running order. On the radio, McLaren told Hamilton that they were now “looking at Plan B.” Vettel pitted on L11, as did di Resta and Maldonado. That stop left Button in the lead, though he had not yet stopped.

Meanwhile, Massa was just two tenths behind Hamilton and setting the race fast lap. Kobayashi, though he also had not stopped, was up to fifth. In another radio message, Mercees GP told Rosberg that they also were on Plan B, “stint plus .7.” Behind him on the track, Petrov and Heidfeld were jostling each other. At the front, Vettel slide through on Button, who immediately pitted for his first stop. Kobayashi was in as well.Soon thereafter, Hamilton was after Rosberg in the DRS zone, passing the German for fourth.

Just fifteen laps into the fifty-eight lap race, Vettel led Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Button, Petrov, Heidfeld, and Buemi as the top ten. Kobayashi was a legitimate twelfth, after starting last. Vettel was nearly three seconds ahead of his teammate, who had a two and a half second cushion on Alonso. The Spanaird was safe on track, with Hamilton another eight seconds behind and under fire from Rosberg. His teammate Schumacher was having no luck, with Barrichello, then both Force Indias passing the German, Sutil doing so with all wheels locked.

Despite maximum KERS power, Massa was unable to pass Rosberg, with the former on the soft tires and Rosberg on the harder compound. Just two seconds ahead, Hamilton was continuously losing time to Alonso, with McLaren concerned with rear tire degradation. Into Turn 9, Rosberg slid under Rosberg, only to have the German use the DRS to attempt a pass. He did not get around Massa, who held the line, only to have Rosberg stick his nose in and force Massa into giving up fifth. Just after, Hamilton finally pitted, with Webber in as well on the next lap. Back with the fighting, Massa took Rosberg again, with Button catching both. Button pushed his way around on Rosberg and was soon less than a second behind Massa.

Both Rosberg and Heidfeld pitted on L22. Alonso pitted as well from second, just before Button went for another move on Massa, whose brakes locked up, then did so again while entering the pit lane. Vettel pitted from the lead (with a 23.7s gap over Webber) on L25, keeping the position. Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Petrov, Massa, Rosberg, Heidfeld, and Schumacher completed the top ten, all but Button having stopped twice. The Briton stopped for the second time on the next lap. Meanwhile, Alonso was about a half second behind Webber, with red Bull informing their driver that he can “afford to open up the gap to Alonso,” if he could. Ferrari informed Alonso of that communication and the gap between them dropped by two tenths.

The Spaniard continued to push, passing Webber for second around the outside and quickly gaining a half second advantage over the Australian. By the end of L30, Vettel led Alonso by nine seconds, with Webber less than a second behind. He had an eighteen second cushion on Hamilton in fourth, with Petrov, Massa, Button, Rosberg, Heidfeld, and Buemi the top ten. Mercedes informed Rosberg, who spent much of the race on the harder tire, that he had blistered the rears on the softer compound and to watch his traction when he returned to them. He pitted on L33. Hamilton, Petrov, and Massa soon followed him.

McLaren had a terrible time with the wheel gun stuck on the right front, causing a slow stop, and held up by Massa going by in the pit lane. Webber pitted from third on L35. Meanwhile, Massa went way wide at Turn 8, picking up all sorts of tire bits and losing positions. Teammate Alonso pitted from second on L36, rejoining comfortably in front of Webber and maintaining position. Vettel still led with twenty laps to go, as Alonso, Webber, Button, Buemi, Hamilton, Rosberg, Barrichello, Petrov, and Heidfeld the top ten. Vettel, Button, Buemi, and Barrichello had stopped only twice, compared to the others’ three stops. Vettel had twenty-five seconds on Vettel, which would be enough to maintain the lead whilst pitting.

Button pitted soon thereafter, with Vettel in on the next lap. Button was back out in seventh while Vettel kept his lead, though the gap was down to seven seconds with sixteen laps to go. Ferrari spoke to Alonso on the radio, incomprehensibly for most listeners, in Italian. Alonso had only three seconds on Webber, with Hamilton more than thirty seconds behind Webber on track, and a forthcoming translation indicated that Ferrari was fixing on Webber for pitting, no Vettel. Word also came from Race Direction that Maldonado was under investigation for speeding in the pit lane, receiving a drive-through penalty.

Webber pitted on L45, as did Petrov in sixth, while di Resta stopped at the side of the track. Alonso was in on the next lap. Behind them, Hamilton also stopped, as did Massa after a joust with Rosberg. Massa’s stop was a slow on, with issues on the right rear. Vettel also pitted again, with eleven laps to go. Vettel led by 6.2s when ten laps remained, as Alonso looked behind him just 1.7s to Webber. Button, Hamilton, Rosberg, Buemi, Petrov, and Heidfeld completed the top ten. Though Button was over thirty seconds behind Webber, Hamilton was less than a second behind his teammate. Over the radio, Hamilton was concerned about getting third place, which was only possible if those ahead “had problems,” as the team informed him.

Hamilton soon had that fourth position, overtaking his teammate with fresher tires. Webber soon passed Alonso for second, putting the Red Bulls back where they started the race, though Alonso did not give up the position easily, attempting to take Webber twice and failing. The order was still Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, and Button as the top five with five laps to go, only to have Rosberg take fifth from Button. Further back, Schumacher and Massa were forcefully fighting over eleventh, with Alguersuari sliding into the duel as well. In the end, the race was Vettel’s win, with Webber finishing where he started, Alonso third, and a slew of dicing over position in the top ten through the final turns.

Results from the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix:

Driver Team Gap
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 8.8
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 10.0
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 40.2
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 47.5
6. Jenson Button McLaren 59.4
7. Nick Heidfeld Renault 60.8
8. Vitaly Petrov Renault 68.1
9. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 69.3
10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 78.0
11. Felipe Massa Ferrari 79.8
12. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 85.4
13. Adrian Sutil Force India 1 Lap
14. Sergio Perez Sauber 1 Lap
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1 Lap
16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1 Lap
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1 Lap
18. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1 Lap
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 2 Laps
20. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 2 Laps
21. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 3 Laps
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 5 Laps
Paul di Resta Force India 14 Laps
Timo Glock Virgin Racing no start

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