• Turkish Grand Prix

Vettel leads Red Bull one-two in Turkey

ESPNF1 Staff
May 8, 2011

Sebastian Vettel took a comfortable victory at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday, his third of the season and his most dominant so far. Mark Webber made it Red Bull's first one-two victory of 2011 after passing Fernando Alonso, who finished third, with six laps to go.

But while the action kicked off behind him, Vettel never looked under threat. The top five all stopped four times for tyres although the No.1 Red Bull looked as though it could have gone the distance on three stops - Vettel maintaining his pace with minimal effort behind the wheel.

Alonso and Webber had a race-long battle for second place once early front runners Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton fell by the wayside with compromised strategies. Alonso originally passed Webber on lap 27 around the outside at turn 12 and looked likely to hold on to second place until the pair swapped to a second set of hard tyres at the final stop. Webber was in the ascendancy on the new rubber and took the position back after another wheel-to-wheel battle at turn 12. Nevertheless, the result was a positive one for Alonso and heralds the start of Ferrari's fight back this season.

Hamilton had a poor start and then a sticking wheel nut at his third stop ruled out any hope of a podium. He finished fourth, 40 seconds behind Vettel, and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted the weekend had not gone to plan. Rosberg, who was running second at the start and contributed to Vettel's early lead, recovered from a mid-race slump on hard tyres to finish fifth.

Jenson Button was the highest placed three-stopper but his strategy worked against him for most of the afternoon and towards the end of the race he made no attempt to fend off Hamilton and Rosberg for position. He had a tight battle with team-mate Hamilton at the start of the race - both drivers making passing moves with the aid of the drag reduction system - but ultimately it lost both of them time.

The Renaults of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov finished seventh and eighth, coming out on top in an incredibly tight midfield battle. At one stage the two Renaults went wheel-to-wheel into turn 13 and Petrov almost pushed Heidfeld into the pit lane. At the chequered flag only 1.4 seconds separated them.

Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi finished a solid ninth after running as high as seventh at one point on a three-stop strategy. It was a good result, but 8.6 seconds behind him Kamui Kobayashi was even more impressive, driving from last place on the grid to tenth. The Sauber driver was helped by having three sets of fresh soft tyres available to him and by the time he had finished his long first stint on hards, he took full advantage of the new rubber and fought his way through the pack.

Outside the points Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher both had very difficult afternoons, finishing 11th and 12th respectively. Massa's race started to fall apart when he attempted to hold off Button and destroyed his front tyres under braking. That compromised his strategy and then a very slow final pit stop, in which he was spinning his rear axle while his mechanic was trying to fit the wheel, ruled out any hope of points.

Schumacher, who started from eighth, found himself in a number of scrapes with other drivers that he probably should have backed out of. The first and most costly came with Petrov as the pair collided in turn 12 and Schumacher came off worse with a broken front wing. After the race he admitted he should have given the Renault more room.

Vettel now leads the championship by 34 points from Hamilton and 38 from team-mate Webber.