After the almost narcotic high of Shanghai, the Turkish Grand Prix would have had to be absolutely sensational to even compare. While it was without the drama of China, this weekend’s race was certainly entertaining.
Famous for “Turn 8” – a high speed, triple-apex flat-out left hander, in which the drivers have to endure nearly 5Gs of lateral force, the Turkish Grand Prix is one of the most exciting layouts on the modern calendar. It’s a pity the Turkish people don’t think so however, a drastic fall in attendance means the event will probably be pulled from the line up next year. So this might have been the last Formula One GP at the venue for a few years to come.
With a dominating qualifying performance, the Red Bull’s didn’t even bother to see out the final session, choosing instead to keep a set of optional tyres. Vettel’s time was simply unreachable by the rest of the pack, and team mate Webber backed him up in second, with Rosberg in the Mercedes in fourth.
However the clean side of the grid proved to help launch Rosberg, and he easily leapfrogged Webber into the first corner. That was the last time anybody would get near Vettel, as he drove a flawless race to stay out ahead for almost every single lap of the race.
Behind the young German maestro though was an absolute frenzy of overtaking. Button and Hamilton traded places in a few dramatic wheel-to-wheel moves that must have had Ron Dennis clenching more than his teeth. It’s great to see though that McLaren let’s his racers race, there was nothing even resembling team orders for the two scrappy Brits.
It seemed immediately obvious that the FIA had botched at least one of the DRS zones however, with drivers simply skipping past their prey on the outside at the end of the last back straight. Rosberg was victim to just about anyone behind him and minutes later the same would happen to Schumacher, who needlessly turned in once he had clearly lost the place, damaging his front wing and sending him into the pits for a nosejob. That cost him dearly and he looked panicky for the rest of the race.
Kobayashi, who faced a nightmare starting from the back of the grid, was in 5th by the first round of pitstops. He fought all day and earned a hard fought few points in 10th place. The dark horses of the sport, in the black Lotus Renaults, had a bit of scrap when Heidfeld nearly pushed Petrov into the pit lane, but resolved their on-track squabble to finish strongly again, in 7th and 8th respectively.
The rest of the race was a fairly straight forward affair, albeit with the teams playing a few mind games with their stops, and some fairly tricky stops where wheel nuts were just not co-operating. Essentially Red Bull had to match a charging Alonso for stops, reacting immediately when he pitted, to keep Vettel and Webber ahead. Button’s race engineer chose a three-stopper for him, which cost him two places in the final stages of the race; four stops was definitely optimal.
The circus that is Formula One moves on to Catalunya, Spain in a fortnight’s time, 20-22 May. In the meantime here are all the standings, from Turkish Grand Prix race results, to Formula 1 driver and team standings.
Race Result: 2011 Turkish Formula 1 Grand Prix
|2||2||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||58||+8.8 secs||2||18|
|3||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||58||+10.0 secs||5||15|
|4||3||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||58||+40.2 secs||4||12|
|5||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||58||+47.5 secs||3||10|
|6||4||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||58||+59.4 secs||6||8|
|7||9||Nick Heidfeld||Renault||58||+60.8 secs||9||6|
|8||10||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||58||+68.1 secs||7||4|
|9||18||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||58||+69.3 secs||16||2|
|10||16||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||58||+78.0 secs||24||1|
|11||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||58||+79.8 secs||10|
|12||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||58||+85.4 secs||8|
|13||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||57||+1 Lap||12|
|14||17||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||57||+1 Lap||15|
|15||11||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||57||+1 Lap||11|
|16||19||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||57||+1 Lap||17|
|17||12||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||57||+1 Lap||14|
|18||21||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||57||+1 Lap||19|
|19||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||56||+2 Laps||18|
|20||25||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||56||+2 Laps||23|
|21||22||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||55||+3 Laps||22|
|22||23||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||53||+5 Laps||20|
|Ret||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||44||Retired||13|
2011 Formula 1 Driver Standings
|13||Adrian Sutil||German||Force India-Mercedes||2|
|14||Paul di Resta||British||Force India-Mercedes||2|
2011 Formula 1 Team Standings