Turkish delight for Vettel

Posted: May 9, 2011 in News, Turkey
Tags: , , ,

Webber and Alonso tussle for a distant second behind Vettel

Sebastian Vettel claimed his third win of the season ahead of team-mate Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso as he dominated in the Istanbul sun.

The current world champion led for all but three laps after his first pit-stop as he secured his fifth win in the last six races.

Webber recovered from losing a place off the start-line to Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and a race-long battle with Alonso to finish behind Vettel on the podium.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton finished fourth – as a poor pit-stop put paid to any podium aspirations – ahead of Rosberg and Jenson Button who struggled with a lack of grip in the closing stages.

The Renault pair of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov finished seventh and eighth – despite a mid-race collision – ahead of Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi who completed the top ten.

“It was a great result today – especially after I gave the team so much work on Friday. I hope giving a victory back goes some way to help them forget it. Saturday morning was crucial,” Vettel said.

“There will be days when we are beaten for definite, but we need to minimise the loss – but for today, it was a great result for the team.”

For Vettel the afternoon was relatively straight-forward as fans were treated to another spectacular race unfolding behind him.

From the first lap to the last, wheel-to-wheel racing was the order of the day as KERS, DRS and the Pirelli tyres combined once again to make for a fantastic race.

Off the line Vettel led into turn one from compatriot Rosberg whilst Webber and Hamilton jostled for third place. But the Brit ran wide at turn five allowing Alonso and Button past.

Webber quickly caught Rosberg and passed him on lap five, by which time Vettel had already gained a lead of over four seconds.

Hamilton overtook Button for fifth on lap seven into turn one with an identical move to the one he pulled off to beat his team-mate twelve months previously.

But Button soon managed to re-take fifth as Hamilton struggled on worn tyres and Felipe Massa compounded the 2008 world champion’s misery by passing him for sixth on lap nine. Massa and Hamilton then pitted together, with the McLaren regaining the position in the pitlane.

Button was promoted from fifth to first as all the front-runners came into the pits for fresh rubber, after the Englishman elected to do a three-stop strategy rather than the conventional four.

With seven laps left Webber managed to pass Alonso using his DRS down into turn 12 – a favourite overtaking area with drivers. The early activation zone has led to some criticism of the system as many drivers were able to complete their moves before even reaching the braking zone.

“The podium is a nice surprise and we had nothing really to say. We just need to be extremely happy,” said Alonso.

“Sebastian was 99% favourite, but this 1% that we had we lost in the first five laps.

“The seven seconds distance to Sebastian was consistent all through the race without those five seconds we lost early on maybe we could have raced in the pit stop and forced something,” said the Spaniard.

After the final round of stops Button looked well set in fourth, but was reeled in by both Hamilton and then Rosberg as his old set of hard tyres faded away.

The last stint was impossible, doing so many laps on the hard tyre,” he said.

“You try to get the best out of the car but you are not racing anyone around you because you are a sitting duck.”

On the final lap, Vitaly Petrov pinched eighth from Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi to earn himself an extra point. It was a solid result for the Russian who had suffered a second-lap accident when Michael Schumacher drove into the rear of the Renault.

Schumacher struggled on to finish 12th but admitted after the race he was at fault for the crash – which resulted in him needing a new nose – and said racing was not enjoyable at the moment for him.

One potential successor to Schumacher, Paul di Resta, failed to finish after mechanical problems forced him to retire with ten laps remaining.

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