Vettel takes third win of the season in Turkey

Rosberg takes P2 at the start

Rosberg takes P2 at the start

Sebastian Vettel took a convincing victory at the Turkish Grand Prix. A perfectly-executed strategy, combined with excellent pace, left him ahead of Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, who battled for most of the race. Lewis Hamilton was 4th, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button. The Renaults were 7th and 8th, while Sebastien Buemi took his first point of the year. Kamui Kobayashi jumped up 14 places to finish 10th. Here is the full report:

At the start, Webber predictably had a slow start from the dirty side of the grid. Rosberg snatched 2nd place, while Lewis Hamilton ran wide at Turn 4 and lost several places. Both Sergio Perez and Michael Schumacher pitted for new front wings.

Kamui Kobayashi got on with the job, passing 4 cars in the first half of the first lap. Meanwhile, Hamilton and Webber began to pressurise Button and Rosberg for P5 and P2 respectively.

DRS gave Webber an easy pass past Rosberg, while Button and Hamilton began dicing it out for 5th place. Combining DRS and KERS at different parts of the circuit led to several overtaking moves in the first few laps between the McLaren drivers.

Massa gets alongside Hamilton in the pit lane

Massa gets alongside Hamilton in the pit lane

Just after passing Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Lewis both pitted on Lap 10. However, as Felipe exited his box, Lewis did what Sebastian Vettel did in China 2010, and pushed him into the mechanic side of the pit lane. Massa eventually yielded, but the stewards intervening was certainly a possibility.

Alonso and Rosberg pitted a lap later, the Mercedes driver losing pace after his great start. Vettel, now 5 seconds in front of Webber, took on a new set of softs on Lap 12. Renault nearly suffered a disaster, as Vitaly Petrov pushed Nick Heidfeld into the pit lane entry while battling for position. Luckily Heidfeld avoided entering the pits, but gesticulated angrily at his teammate.

After holding up Vettel for several laps, Jenson Button retired the lead to the Red Bull, switiching to a used set of soft tyres. Kamui Kobayashi surprised Schumacher by diving down the inside, and was soon followed by Adrian Sutil. Massa attempted several passes on Rosberg for 5th position, but Nico held his ground.

Felipe eventually muscled past Nico, but Button made a fantastic move at the final corner, sweeping around the outside of the Mercedes. Rosberg conceded defeat and pitted for a new set of soft tyres.

Nick Heidfeld easily outbraked Paul di Resta for 11th place. Vettel pitted for a second time, and emerged 8 seconds ahead of Webber. Fernando Alonso began to close in on the Aussie. The Ferrari breezed past the Red Bull at Turn 12 for 2nd place.

Vettel held a 9 second lead to Alonso, while Hamilton pitted from 4th. A disastrous pit stop, with a sticking wheel nut, and holding the McLaren while cars went past, cost Lewis about 10 seconds. Rosberg stopped from 7th, and went from hards onto softs.

Massa ran wide onto the marbles at Turn 8, losing 3 places to Schumacher, Di Resta and Kobayashi. The Ferrari quickly recovered to take 13th off the Sauber.

After most of the frontrunners had made their third stop, Alonso had slightly reduced the gap to Vettel, but now had the problem of possibly having to stop again, while Sebastian was on a definite 3-stopper. Further back, Pastor Maldonado received a penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

With 13 laps to go, Rosberg stopped for a fourth time, keeping the softer compound. Webber followed this strategy, stopping from 3rd position, emerging in the same place. While he was under no pressure, Alonso opted to cover Webber, stopping a lap later. This left Vettel in complete control of the Grand Prix.

Paul di Resta rolled to a halt in his Force India after leaving the pit lane. Hamilton and Massa decided to copy this 4-stop strategy on Lap 47. This left Jenson Button in 4th place, but Lewis was only 2 seconds behind on quicker tyres. Surprisingly, Vettel chose to cover Alonso, pitting on Lap 48.

The two McLarens were very close together with 9 laps to go. Jenson chose not to battle Lewis, and allowed a DRS-assisted pass move Hamilton up to 4th. Rosberg was now a threat, closing in by nearly a second per lap.

Mark Webber shoved his way past Alonso for 2nd, driving around the outside of Turn 12. He held off a spirited challange from the Ferrari driver to hold his position on the pit straight.

Sebastien Buemi, in 7th place for Toro Rosso, spent the last few laps in a tussle with Schumacher and Massa. Michael used his trademark technique to push Buemi out of the way, which allowed Massa through as well. However, Felipe dived down the inside of the Mercedes at turn 1, shoving Schumacher aside, and leaving him in the clutches of Buemi. However, he survived the Toro Rossos assault to keep 8th.

With 3 laps to go, Rosberg sided past Button for 5th position. Nick Heidfeld got past teammate Petrov, taking 7th place.

Vettel was unchallenged in the end to take his 3rd victory of the year. Webber and Alonso took well-deserved podiums, after battling all day long. Kamui Kobayashi was one to note, having leaped up to 10th after starting from the back. His Sauber companion Sergio Perez recovered from his front wing damage on the first lap to finish 13th.


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