Archive for the ‘Turkey- Istanbul’ Category

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Hamilton Wins Nail-Biting Turkish Grand Prix

May 30, 2010

Lewis Hamilton won his first race of 2010 in Turkey this afternoon, leading home teammate Jenson Button for a McLaren one-two, in a nail-biting 58 laps that saw the two Red Bulls collide, and very nearly saw the McLarens run out of fuel.

Mark Webber took an early lead from pole, while Hamilton slipped back behind Sebastian Vettel after a slow start from the dirty side of the grid. Michael Schumacher made a move from fifth, taking Button for fourth in the first corner, but while Hamilton snatched second back off Vettel in turn three, Button stole fourth from Schumacher in turn 12, using the pure straight-line speed of the McLaren to edge around the Mercedes.

Webber led Hamilton into the first round of pitstops, with Hamilton keeping the Red Bull honest, having a look once or twice into turn 12. Vettel had been the first of the front four to pit, on lap 15, and the early stop meant that when Webber and Hamilton stopped a lap later, Vettel managed to take second off Hamilton after the Brit was delayed in his pitbox.

Button was next to pit from the front four, but was unable to leapfrog the other three to take the lead, and he fed out behind his teammate. Hamilton fought to hold on to the Red Bulls, and on lap 18 he tried to pass Vettel into turn 12, but ran wide.

The front four stayed as they were for the laps that followed, keeping the gap between them down to less than three seconds. Webber was the slowest of the four, and on lap 40, Vettel made a move down the straight into turn 12, but the two collided, seeing an end to Vettel’s race, and leaving Webber in third. Hamilton went through to take the lead, with Button just over a second behind him.

Then came the message from McLaren to save fuel, as both drivers had a high consumption and there were fears they wouldn’t make it to the end of the race. Button reeled in Hamilton, and on lap 48, passed his teammate into turn 12. The two were wheel-to-wheel in a heart-in-mouth duel, as Hamilton fought to take the lead back off Button, making it stick into turn two on the following lap. Button was once again given a warning by the team to save fuel, and he backed off, following Hamilton home for a McLaren one-two.

Meanwhile, Webber, who was forced to stop for a new nose following his collision with Vettel, came through to finish third, while Schumacher, some 25 seconds off the leaders for the majority of the race, finished fourth.

Elsewhere in the field, the top ten on the grid resumed their positions for the majority of the race, Schumacher settling back into fifth after Button reclaimed fourth on the opening lap, while his teammate, Nico Rosberg, had a quiet race in sixth, ahead of Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa who started seventh and eighth. All four retained their positions for the majority of the race. Vitaly Petrov held ninth off the grid, while Adrian Sutil passed Kamui Kobayashi for tenth.

As the race began to unfold, Schumacher found himself fourth following Vettel’s retirement, with Rosberg fifth, Kubica sixth and Massa seventh. Fernando Alonso, who made his way up from 12th to ninth behind Petrov, had a fight for eighth on lap 54, and the two made contact, resulting in a puncture for Petrov, gifting ninth to Sutil and tenth to Kobayashi, who scored BMW Sauber’s first point of the season.

So while the fans were left with a nail-biting race that saw contact between the Red Bulls and a battle between the McLarens along with a fight to save fuel, Hamilton was left to take his first win of the season, edging him closer to Mark Webber in the fight for the title. Webber retains his lead in the championship on 93 points, with Button on 88, Hamilton on 84, Alonso holding on to fourth with 79 points, and Vettel out of the race and failing to score, leaving him on 78 points.

In the constructors’ battle, it’s all change, as McLaren lead the way on 172 points having scored the maximum of 43 points for the weekend. Red Bull sit in second on 161, with Ferrari on 146. Mercedes join the top three teams in triple figures, on 100 points, while Renault trail on 73.

So McLaren head to Canada in two weeks time, having caught up with the previously unstoppable Red Bulls. McLaren may have taken the lead of the constructors’ battle, but will Button or Hamilton be leading the drivers’ battle out of Montreal? Qualifying is on Saturday 12th June, with the race live on BBC1 at 5pm on Sunday 13th.

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Webber on Pole in Turkey, While Hamilton Splits Red Bulls

May 29, 2010

Mark Webber made it a hat trick of poles in qualifying for tomorrow’s Turkish Grand Prix, this afternoon, while Lewis Hamilton completed the front row, splitting Webber from his Red Bull teammate.

Sebastian Vettel had been fastest in both Q1 and Q2, but lost out when it mattered, finishing third, four tenths behind Webber who set a time of 1:26.295 for pole.

Hamilton looked like he was going to be the one to end Red Bull’s run of six consecutive poles, but found himself a tenth off Webber’s time when he crossed the line for the final time.

Hamilton’s teammate, Jenson Button, who starts fourth in tomorrow’s race, had been on his final hot lap, when Michael Schumacher, who starts fifth, crashed out at turn eight, after the clock had stopped, bringing out the yellow flags, meaning Button had to lift off the power, seeing the end of his session.

Schumacher’s teammate Nico Rosberg will start the race from sixth, ahead of Robert Kubica in seventh, Felipe Massa in eighth, Vitaly Petrov ninth, and Kamui Kobayashi in tenth.

Fernando Alonso struggled in the Ferrari, getting out of shape on his final lap and missing out on the top ten shoot-out, down in 12th.

Adrian Sutil starts just ahead of the Ferrari driver in 11th, with Pedro de la Rosa in 13th, Sebastien Buemi 14th, Rubens Barrichello 15th, Jaime Alguersuari 16th, Nico Hulkenberg 17th, Vitantonio Liuzzi 18th, Jarno Trulli 19th, Heikki Kovalainen 20th, Timo Glock 21st, Bruno Senna 22nd, Lucas di Grassi 23rd and Karun Chandhok down in 24th.

The race starts tomorrow, live on BBC1 at 1pm.

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Unstoppable Button Takes Victory in Turkey

June 7, 2009

In the four year history of the Turkish Grand Prix, the winner has always started from pole. Kimi Raikkonen turned pole position into victory in 2005, and Felipe Massa made a hat-trick of poles and wins in 2006, 07 and 08. But as the lights went out at the Istanbul Park circuit for the seventh race of the 2009 championship, Jenson Button accelerated away on a mission to prove you could still win from P2. As he took the chequered flag 58 laps later, he had a clear message for his rivals: that he is unstoppable. 

Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel didn’t have an answer for Button. After running wide in turn nine on the first lap he gifted the lead to the Brawn, and despite chasing him down in the second stint, the Red Bull struggled to overtake in its dirty air. 

After losing the lead to Button early on, Vettel, who was on a three stop strategy, had a lighter car than the Brawn and was able to close the gap on Jenson by less than a second. However, with his teammate Mark Webber two stopping, Vettel could not make up enough time to catch him after his final pit stop, and the German finished in third behind Webber.

Button’s teammate Rubens Barrichello was less fortunate, and despite starting on the clean side of the grid, problems with the clutch off the start line saw him slip back through the pack behind Heikki Kovalainen who had started in 14th. The pair spent the first few laps of the race jostling for 11th position, with Barrichello overtaking Kovalainen into the final corner of lap 6, only for the Finn to hit his KERS button and claim the position back on the start/ finish straight. Contact between the pair a lap later put Barrichello in a spin, and he soon found himself trading Heikki’s McLaren for that of Lewis Hamilton who had been running in 17th. Barrichello’s bad luck didn’t end there and the Brazilian retired on lap 49 after having spent most of the race without seventh gear. His retirement is the first for Brawn since making their F1 debut in the 2009 championship.

For Massa and Raikkonen they finished 6th and 9th respectively, with the McLarens of Hamilton and Kovalainen finishing 13th and 14th. After failing to score points in the last three races, fans of the Woking-based team are calling for an updated car to be introduced following a bad showing so far this season. The car appears to be difficult to drive, with Hamilton lacking significant pace through turn eight, and losing track position to several of the slower cars on numerous occasions. The reigning world champ appears to have admitted defeat in recent races, and a new, mature approach spells that the Brit is focusing on enjoying the drive for this year, and getting competitive again for next year.

Whilst last year’s champion struggles in his McLaren, Button is proving race-on-race to be unstoppable. With 61 championship points and an advantage of 26 over his closest rival, teammate Barrichello, Button appears to be in the zone, in a league of his own. Despite having more fuel onboard at the start of the race to Vettel’s Red Bull, he managed to pull out a significant lead over the German early on. With the championship just short of the half way stage, it looks like Jenson could well be on his way to championship glory in 2009.

 

But will Button be making it seven out of eight races at Silverstone in two weeks time? The British Grand Prix will be making its final appearance at the Northampton circuit in a fortnight, with qualifying on Saturday and the race at 1pm on Sunday 21st on BBC One.

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Vettel Pips Button to Turkish Pole

June 6, 2009

Sebastian Vettel has claimed his second pole of the season in Turkey this afternoon, just pipping championship leader Jenson Button by a tenth of a second.

As the clock stopped ticking at the end of quali three, it was Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber who crossed the line first in 1:28.613s to clinch pole. However, his lap was soon cast aside as Button put his Brawn just ahead on 1:28.421. Vettel was still on his hot lap, and as he had done previously in quali one and quali two, he brought his Red Bull over the line in P1, a mere tenth faster than Button.

With the race win having depended on qualifying for the last four years, and with all four races being won from pole position, it makes Vettel’s charge all the more important. It still remains to be seen from the fuel loads, whether Vettel’s pole was through being the quickest, or simply because he was on a lighter fuel load than Brawn.

And unlike most F1 race tracks which run clockwise, the Istanbul Park track runs counter-clockwise, putting more pressure on the drivers as they go through the corners. Turn eight is particularly tricky, and the change of direction of the circuit puts a lot of G’s on the drivers’ necks for four or five seconds as they go through the long, high speed corner. The track requires extreme fitness, making qualifying all the more important for the race. Felipe Massa, who has won here for the last three years, claims that a hat-trick of wins at this track means a great deal than any other circuit, due to the way the track tests your fitness as a driver.

This year however, Massa will be starting from seventh on the grid, behind teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton, who failed to get his McLaren into quali two, starts 16th on the grid. He appeared to be struggling with oversteer as his MP4-24 stepped out at the back on more than one occasion. His teammate Heikki Kovalainen could only go two places higher, starting 14th. McLaren, who at the start of the season claimed they would be back up with the front-runners by the start of the European leg of the season in Spain a month ago, appear to be going backwards. Hamilton said following his early departure: “The car, it has just got slower and slower throughout the weekend,” adding: “People have got faster and we have got slower.”

Vettel and Button will make up the front row of the grid tomorrow, with Rubens Barrichello starting from P3. The Brazilian admitted that he was worried during quali two that he was going to miss out on the top-ten shoot-out, and following a slow start in the early stages of quali three, he managed to turn it around and put his Brawn on the second row of the grid ahead of Webber.

Jarno Trulli, who was competitive throughout qualifying, will start from row three alongside Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso will start 8th alongside Massa in 7th, who had been tipped for pole this weekend. Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica, who made the top-ten shoot-out for the first time this season, make up row five.

The only unanswered question is who will take victory tomorrow? Will Button make it six out of seven wins, or is Vettel going to claim his second win of the season? Whatever happens, this season is shaping up to be dominated by the Brawns and the Red Bulls.