Posts Tagged ‘Turkish Grand Prix ’09’


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.


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.