Red Bull self-destruct hands McLaren a 1-2 in Turkey

Lewis Hamilton took his first win of the 2010 season yesterday in Turkey, after an absolute disastrous race for the Red Bull team. The Austrian squad were holding a 1-2 lead, with Webber leading Vettel, before they both collided into each other, gifting the race to McLaren.

Mark Webber retains his lead, while Sebastian Vettel gets into second place

Mark Webber retains his lead, while Sebastian Vettel gets into second place

At the start, Mark Webber retained his advantage at the top, while Sebastian Vettel got ahead of Lewis Hamilton for 2nd place. However, still on the 1st lap, Lewis managed to get the position back at Turn 3. Also, Jenson Button lost 4th place to Michael Schumacher, but similarly fought to get his position back.

Lewis set about catching and passing Webber, but simply wasn’t able to. This is because, at Turn 8, the Red Bull was clearly faster than the McLaren, which meant he couldn’t get close enough on the main straight. However, the advantage of his F-duct meant that he would be able to pounce if Webber made a mistake.

At the first set of stops, a mistake at Hamilton’s pit meant that he dropped to 3rd, behind the two Red Bulls. The problem seemed to be caused by a stuck right-rear tyre. Button had made no progress so far, and didn’t seem to be closing on his team-mate.

But, after the stops, a new threat appeared to be in the form of rain. Heavy clouds were gathering around the circuit, and the radars were predicting rainfall at halfway distance. For the next few laps, the entire field watched closely as the clouds got closer and closer.

While many teams were preparing their strategies for the imminent rain, Vettel closed in on Webber for the lead. On Lap 40, he got close enough on the main straight to make a move, but disaster struck. As Sebastian moved to the left side of the track, Mark pushed him slightly too far. Vettel veered right slightly, and collided with Webber’s car. Both Red Bulls speared off the track, with Vettel retiring on the spot, and Webber in need of repairs. The team were distraught, having thrown away an almost-certain 1-2 victory.

Of course, this handed the 1-2 to the McLarens of Hamilton and Button. Nobody else even came close to challenging them, as the Mercedes cars were miles behind, and the Ferraris completely off the pace. Jenson didn’t seem content with 2nd place though, and began to challenge Lewis for the lead. He made a move on the outside of Turn 12, and managed to get past.

But, this meant that Button was out of shape for the pit straight. Hamilton made excellent use of this fact to respond instantly, diving down the inside of Turn 1. They banged wheels, and Hamilton seized the lead again. After this, Martin Whitmarsh went on the team radio to instruct his drivers to calm down, and Button did not challenge Hamilton after this.

Further back, Fernando Alonso struggled to work his way up the field. He started 12th, and made up 2 places at the first stop, and 1 further place later. Once he got close to Vitaly Petrov in the battle for 8th, the young Russian did very well to defend his position from the 2-time world champion. Fernando finally got past, but not without consequences. Petrov appeared to damage his suspension in that battle, and was forced to pit for repairs. However, it was nice to see that he set the fastest lap of the race after this stop, even if he did lose his points-scoring position.

While Webber soon stopped for repairs on Lap 42, he was able to retain 3rd place, ahead of the two Mercedes cars of Schumacher and Rosberg. Behind them, Robert Kubica held off Felipe Massa for most of the race, ahead of a slow-recovering Alonso. Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi finished off the top 10.

Out of the points scoring positions, it was a disappointing race for Toro Rosso. The team had used a 2-stop strategy to try and propel their drivers up the order, but it failed to work, leaving Jaime Alguersuari 12th and Sebastien Buemi 16th.

In the earlier stages of the race, Bruno Senna had a great battle with Lucas di Grassi, but unfortunately retired on Lap 22 with a fuel pressure problem. Team-mate Karun Chandhok retired 2 laps later with a fuel pump failure. A similar double-retirement occured at Lotus, with both Kovalainen and Trulli exiting the race within a lap of each other. Both failures were confirmed as hydraulic.

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber celebrate on the podium

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber celebrate on the podium

The expected rain arrived eventually, but only very lightly, and so Hamilton crossed the line first, to take 3rd position in the championship, although Button is still in 2nd, 4 points ahead. Sebastian Vettel collapsed to 5th, while McLaren took the lead of the constructors’ championship by a single point to Red Bull. There are many questions to be asked over the next few days, the most important of which is why two drivers who were belived to be responsible would cause such an unecessary crash.

The standings have been updated, you can view them here.

3 responses to “Red Bull self-destruct hands McLaren a 1-2 in Turkey

  1. pickle92 June 1, 2010 at 17:08

    Great result for us (McLaren), and Lewis loves Montreal.
    Will Red Bull have the same driver line up for 2011? I’ve just seen that Kubica will not commit to Renault.

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