Turkish Delight - A round up
The golden rule in Formula 1 has to be don’t take your teammate out. After some great strategy play by Red Bull to get their drivers into a 1-2 position ahead of both McLarens that's exactly what happened. Vettel tried a move to pass Webber going down the back straight into Turn 12 and when the two collided the lead was handed on a plate to McLaren as Vettel retired and Webber recovered to third after changing his front wing.
Undoubtedly this moment will be talked to death over the coming weeks and it may come to be the turning point of the season. But it is clear that we witnessed a cracking and suspense filled grand prix. It’s certainly left us with a lot to talk about. From the Red Bull collision, to the enigma over McLaren’s fuel “critical” issue and Hamilton’s restrained celebrations taking his first win of the season.
Tears at the Bullfight
Lets get the big one out of the way with first. For me a lot more is being made of this incident than really needs to be. Yes it was a massive mistake made by Webber and Vettel, without a doubt it cost the team a 1-2 finish – in whatever order. Only time will tell exactly how costly this will be to the team, but all this waffling about Webber on fuel saving mode, and Vettel having maximum revs for one more lap. All this has lead to a rift in the team etc. What a load of media rubbish! Designed to just create problems where none exist! It doesn’t matter.
What it was - was a racing incident. Vettel felt the pressure of having a teammate dominate him and he wanted to reassert himself. The only way to do that was by overtaking him for the win. He tried. It didn’t work. And he paid the price for his impetuousness. It’s happened let's move on.
In the end Webber recovered well and finishing third is a big save for him. Equally it could easily have been the other way round and Vettel taken the points, but he didn’t and the pressure is still on the young German going into Canada.
Christian Horner will do well to nip this story quickly and restore order. But I think it was very wrong of him to come out in favour of one driver over another, in this case Vettel. What is that going to do to Webber mentally? It's only going to help alienate Mark and feel like he lacks the support of the team boss. Horner should be impartial and walk the line between the two drivers, not picking sides. That was one of the crucial mistakes McLaren made with Hamilton and Alonso back in 2007. Well done Christian!
McLaren’s critical fuel
What I find a lot more confusing is the issue of McLaren pretty strongly telling their drivers that their fuel level was “critical”. Now there is not a chance that a team with McLaren’s pedigree would have under filled their cars. That plus the fact that if it really was as bad as the crys from the team suggested then Hamilton and Button could have simply dropped their pace by well over 5 seconds a lap and still comfortably won the race such was their lead. But they didn’t do this, instead they battled each other for the lead and remained within a second or two of the ultimate race pace.
So clearly this fuel issue wasn’t a concern at all as the cars finished, so why make such a big fuss about it all? Was it perhaps code to tell their drivers not to overtake each other? I thought team orders were illegal in F1 these days?
After what had happened to the two Red Bulls it was clear they didn’t want to see the same thing happen to them. Perhaps that also explains why Lewis looked so ticked off on the podium. He thought there was no more overtaking between him and Jenson, so to see his teammate nick past him at Turn 12 for the lead must have annoyed him a lot. But maybe I’m just seeing something where nothing exists, we’re all capable of creating conspiracy’s where none exist!
Now aside from all these conspiracy theories and teammate wars bouncing around the paddock, Turkey has shown us that there is real optimism for stronger, closer and better racing still to come in 2010.
1) Renault’s Rise
To co-inside with McLaren’s improved pace Turkey also showed us again that Renault have taken a massive leap forward. From the start of the season Renault looked to be fifth fastest team after Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes. But now that order has defiantly shifted. The French based team that has endured some pretty poor seasons compared to the lofty heights of 2005 and 2006, are clearly in the mix with both Ferrari and Mercedes for third in the constructors championship.
Renault and in particular Robert Kubica have showed they could hold onto the back of the Mercedes very well, that coupled with the fact they were still keeping the Ferrari’s at bay. Also Petrov taking the fastest lap of the race on the last lap would support this.
It must have been especially painful for Fernando Alonso to be staring at the back of a Renault rear wing for the majority of the race, unable to pass the team he left to go to the utopia of the all-conquering Ferrari. Oh how cruel this world can be at times.
2) Lots of wheel-to-wheel action
Compared to the processional bore that Bahrain turned out to be, Turkey produced some welcome overtaking. Button’s great move on Schumacher, Button again on Hamilton, Alonso on Petrov and perhaps not so much in a good way the aforementioned Vettel on Webber - but it did show you can at least have a go.
Now that we know it can be done, please can we have some more?
3) Credit where credit's due
Although not really covered by the BBC, as they were to busy drawing up conspiracy theories, I thought I’d finish off by mentioning two cracking drives by Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov.
The Japanese driver drove a solid race and despite being criticised heavily at the moment he did manage a mature drive to collect Sauber’s first point of the season.
But the man I am most impressed with - and feel was very hard done by - was Petrov. The young Russian did a great job in qualifying and was driving solidly up with his teammate and Felipe Massa for most of the race - even defending brilliantly from Fernando Alonso on occasion.
I thought 15th was very undeserved as Alonso bullied his way passed for 8th in a very undignified manner, damaging Petrov’s car and forcing him to pit for a new front wing. He dropped out of the points and out of a great result. He did prove that he now has the capability to run up with his teammate and up with the big boys. Kudos to him!
Turkey has defiantly shaken things up in this already interesting season. I can’t wait for Canada.
|2||J Button||McLaren||+2.6 secs|
|3||M Webber||Red Bull||+24.2 secs|
|4||M Schumacher||Mercedes||+31.1 secs|
|5||N Rosberg||Mercedes||+32.2 secs|
|6||R Kubica||Renault||+32.8 secs|
|7||F Massa||Ferrari||+36.6 secs|
|8||F Alonso||Ferrari||+46.5 secs|
|9||A Sutil||Force India||+49.0 secs|
|10||K Kobayashi||BMW Sauber||+65.6 secs|
|11||P De la Rosa||BMW Sauber||+65.9 secs|
|12||J Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||+67.8 secs|
|13||V Liuzzi||Force India||+1 Lap|
|14||R Barrichello||Williams||+1 Lap|
|15||V Petrov||Renault||+1 Lap|
|16||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||+1 Lap|
|17||N Hulkenberg||Williams||+1 Lap|
|18||T Glock||Virgin||+3 Laps|
|19||L Di Grassi||Virgin||+3 Laps|
|DNF||K Chandhok||HRT||+6 Laps|
|DNF||B Senna||HRT||+12 Laps|
|DNF||S Vettel||Red Bull||+29 Laps|
|DNF||H Kovalainen||Lotus||+25 Laps|
|DNF||J Trulli||Lotus||+26 Laps|
|2||M Webber||Red Bull||+6.7 secs|
|3||S Vettel||Red Bull||+7.4 secs|
|4||J Trulli||Toyota||+27.8 secs|
|5||N Rosberg||Williams||+31.5 secs|
|6||F Massa||Ferrari||+39.9 secs|
|7||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+46.2 secs|
|8||T Glock||Toyota||+46.9 secs|
|9||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+50.2 secs|
|10||F Alonso||Renault||+62.4 secs|
|11||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+64.3 secs|
|12||K Nakajima||Williams||+66.3 secs|
|13||L Hamilton||McLaren||+80.4 secs|
|14||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+1 lap|
|15||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|16||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+1 lap|
|17||A Sutil||Force India||+1 lap|
|18||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|DNF||R Barrichello||Brawn||+10 laps|
|DNF||G Fisichella||Force India||+55 laps|
|2||L Hamilton||McLaren||+3.7 secs|
|3||K Raikkonen||Ferrari||+4.2 secs|
|4||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||+21.9 secs|
|5||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||+38.7 secs|
|6||F Alonso||Renault||+53.7 secs|
|7||M Webber||Red Bull||+64.2 secs|
|8||N Rosberg||Williams||+71.4 secs|
|9||D Coulthard||Red Bull||+75.2 secs|
|10||J Trulli||Toyota||+76.3 secs|
|11||J Button||Honda||+1 lap|
|12||H Kovalainen||McLaren||+1 lap|
|13||T Glock||Toyota||+1 lap|
|14||R Barrichello||Honda||+1 lap|
|15||N Piquet Jnr||Renault||+1 lap|
|16||A Sutil||Force India||+1 lap|
|17||S Vettel||Toro Rosso||+1 lap|
|DNF||S Bourdais||Toro Rosso||+34 laps|
|DNF||K Nakajima||Williams||+57 laps|
|DNF||G Fisichella||Force India||+58 laps|