Hamilton takes Turkey as Red Bulls collide
30 May, 2010
May.30 (Grand Prix 247) Lewis Hamilton took his first win of the 2010 season in an action packed and drama filled Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park.
The McLaren Mercedes driver looked destined for third place despite harassing and relentlessly pursuing the dominant Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel who collided on lap 40 to change the entire complexion of the race.
Vettel spun across the track before coming to a stop, unable to continue while Webber managed to recover and eventually, despite a stop for a new nose cone, managed to finish third.
Hamilton thus inherited the lead with team mate Jenson Button, who had kept in touch with the battling trio ahead, on his tail. The two circulated in tandem but, shortly after Hamilton was warned by his engineer that he had to conserve fuel, Button made his move for the lead.
The two silver cars, their drivers apparently oblivious of the fate of the Red Bulls despite having the best seats in the house for the incident, ran side by side for several corners with Button edging ahead on the final turn and taking the lead going onto the main straight.
Hamilton was not having any of that and dug deep to snatch the lead going into Turn 1, again side by side stuff, before powering ahead and on to the chequered flag to claim victory. A well deserved win by the 2008 World Champion who took the fight to the Red Bulls and could perhaps take some credit for applying sustained pressure that may have contributed to their demise.
Red Bull threw away a big chance of scoring major points against their rivals but in a brief moment of mayhem McLaren’s pressure told and the team with major winning pedigree were well aware of this. As their victorious drivers coasted aroundon their slow down lap the radio message from the pitwall to Hamilton was: “That was a fantastic, thoroughly deserved win Lewis. We’ve got momentum now. “
The message to Button was of the same ilk, “Great drive, we’ve had a great car all weekend. We pushed them and they cracked.” They sure did and McLaren now top the constructors championship table.
From the start it was clearly going to be a Red Bull versus McLaren Mercedes shootout as both Webber and Vettel, on the clean side of the track, made each made excellent getaways.
Credit to Hamilton, despite entering Turn 1 behind Vettel, he engineered a way past the German again in a spirited tussle between the two and slotted in behind Webber where he stayed glued to the gearbox of the Red Bull all the way to the first stops.
Behind them Michael Schumacher edged his Mercedes GP past Button in the first cornes melee, but Button reclaimed fourth spot within a few corners. And thus they proceeded Webber followed by Hamilton, Vettel and Button leaving the others in their dust.
There was never more than two and bit seconds separating the quartet, while Webber had his mirrors full of Hamilton, who in turn had Vettel in his slip stream with Button keeping tabs.
Vettel was the first to stop on lap 14, followed a lap later by Webber and Hamilton nose to tail. The Red Bull crew get Webber out fastest, while Hamilton was delayed a few seconds before exiting.
On to the track Webber peeled into first place just ahead of Vettel who leap frogged Hamilton to take second. The fizzy drinks boys were running 1-2. Done and dusted? Not quite.
Button was last of the top four to pit and returned to the action back in fourth but much closer to the top three. The quartet proceeded to run almost in tandem with Hamilton occasionally feinting a move here or there on Vettel.
Around this point to add to the anxiety was the possibility of rain which although threatening stayed away bar a few drops. Th teams even got to the point where they were discussing which tyres to run, intermediates or full wets! The forcasters got it wrong again. Who pays these guys?
With the race deep into the thirty something laps the Red Bulls appeared to have the edge with Vettel closing in on Webber. And on lap 41 Vettel decided to make his move on Webber going down into Turn 12, almost through but not quite, the German appears to swerve into Webber’s path. Bam! Mega moment as Vettel spins out of control and into retirement while Webber was forced wide and suffers front wing damage. Hamilton and Button slip through, thank you very much.
Vettel appeared to admit guilt despite climbing out the car gesticulating as if Webber, or maybe himself, was bonkers, “I’m not very happy now after something like this happens. We are all pretty much the same speed and pace and I felt I was able to go quicker. I dived down the left, I had the corner so I was trying to focus on the braking and I lost the car. We are a team and we have to respect that fact. It’s important points for myself and the team, it’s not the best case.”
Team boss Christian Horner said he was angry at both drivers. “What we always ask is that the drivers give each other room. Today, neither yielded.”
More drama was yet to unfold as the McLaren duo decided to go shoulder to shoulder, fortunately for them, with a better outcome on track but no doubt questions will be raised in the team debrief. Button said afterwards, “I got the run down into the Turn 12 on the outside and I had to have a go really. We were wheel to wheel for about five corners. It was good fun. When Lewis got back past into Turn One, we were in fuel-save mode. The race was a lot quicker than we thought it would be. We had to save a bit of fuel at the end.”
For sure we have not heard the end from these two teams, leading title candidates, and the rivalry that has boiled over on to a very public arena. Big time silly boy management will be required from the respective team principals, over to you Martin Whitmarsh and Christian Horner. Watch this space.
Oh yes there were another twenty drivers in the race….
Best of the rest was Michael Schumacher (Mercedes GP) who finished fourth ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg, in fifth, who had something of a subdued outing. Schumacher on the other hand scuffled briefly with Button early on and then managed to keep a pace which saw him unchallenged until the end.
Robert Kubica (Renault) finished sixth after a race long duel with Felipe Massa (Ferrari) who ended seventh.
Starting from 12th on the grid proved to be a major handicap for Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) as he failed to make any ground before his pit stop, where he managed to leap frog a Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber). The Spaniard spent the rest of the afternoon behind Vitaly Petrov (Renault) only finding a way past the Russian rookie in the last few laps of the race. Alonso ended eighth with Sutil ninth and Kobayashi taking the final point.
Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber) was just out of the points in 11th and staring up his team mate’s exhaust pipe as they crossed the line.
Fellow Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) opted for a different strategy by using his hard tyres first and the softer ones for later. He ended 12th and had the fastest lap credited to him late in the race. His team mate Sebastien Buemi was 16th after having to pit at the end of the first lap with a puncture.
Best of the Cosworths but clearly struggling was Williams veteran Rubens Barrichello who ended 14th while his team mate who had a dreadful opening lap finished 17th. A bleak weekend for the team.
Petrov looked set to score points after keeping Alonso at bay for a large portion of the race. But when Alonso made his move, which amounted to a chop, the rookie suffered a puncture and was injustly rewarded with 15th.
Best of the new teams were the Virgin Racing pair of Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi who were 18th and 19th respectively, albeit three laps down on the leaders.
Karun Chandhok (Hispania Racing) was classified as a finisher but ended his race in the pit garage six laps down on Hamilton.
Vettel was a non-finisher along with Bruno Senna (Hispania racing) and Lotus duo Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli.
Race Results – 30 May 2010
|2||1||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||58||+2.6 secs||4||18|
|3||6||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||58||+24.2 secs||1||15|
|4||3||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||58||+31.1 secs||5||12|
|5||4||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||58||+32.2 secs||6||10|
|6||11||Robert Kubica||Renault||58||+32.8 secs||7||8|
|7||7||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||58||+36.6 secs||8||6|
|8||8||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||58||+46.5 secs||12||4|
|9||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||58||+49.0 secs||11||2|
|10||23||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||58||+65.6 secs||10||1|
|11||22||Pedro de la Rosa||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||58||+65.9 secs||13|
|12||17||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||58||+67.8 secs||16|
|13||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||57||+1 Lap||18|
|14||9||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||57||+1 Lap||15|
|15||12||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||57||+1 Lap||9|
|16||16||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||57||+1 Lap||14|
|17||10||Nico Hulkenberg||Williams-Cosworth||57||+1 Lap||17|
|18||24||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||58||+3 Laps||21|
|19||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||58||+3 Laps||23|
|20||20||Karun Chandhok||HRT-Cosworth||52||+6 Laps||24|
|Ret||21||Bruno Senna||HRT-Cosworth||46||+12 Laps||22|
|Ret||19||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Cosworth||33||+25 Laps||20|
|Ret||18||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Cosworth||32||+26 Laps||19|