Sebastian Vettel, the coolest customer in Formula One racing, won the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul Park on Sunday without breaking a sweat. After a serious wreck during Friday’s practice, the Red Bull team rebuilt their champion’s car so Seb could calmly go out and win pole position on Saturday, and today bring home the checkers. His Red Bull team mate Mark Webber was able to slip by Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari during the late stages of the race for second place. Alonso was, I am sure, thrilled to settle for third place, the Ferrari team’s first visit to the podium in quite a while.
Vettel, as expected, deflected a lot of praise to the team, “It was a great result today – especially after I gave the team so much work on Friday. I hope giving a victory back goes some way to help them forget it.” At the end I did two short stints, which was the right thing to do – it was seamless today…. We don’t know what happens next, so we have to take it race by race. There will be days when we are beaten for definite, but we need to minimize the loss – but for today, it was a great result for the team.”
Well at least Vettel thinks there is a chance for someone else in the F1 field to beat him to the finish line, at this point I think he is about the only one that thinks that. Looks to me like Vettel is about to stamp the 2011 F1 season as all his own, like his idol Michael Schumacher, Sebastian is starting to make the only question worth answering each race is who will finish second.
And yet, the race today was yet another showcase for the new rules F1 applied this year to encourage overtaking. Vettel made 4 stops today for tires, and there were something like 80 pit stops total for all the teams today. Passing and more passing was the order for the day, as names like Schumacher, Kobayashi, Button, Hamilton and Massa seemed to be constantly leapfroging each other all over the hilly track . Lewis Hamilton had another crazy outing today, he got a good start and seemed to be challenging Nico Rosberg on the first lap for second place. Nico had made a brilliant move of his own off the grid, surprising Webber and getting around him for second place on the first lap. Lewis tried too hard to go by Nico and ended up going wide and losing a few spots, as his McLaren team mate Jenson Button got by Lewis.
Hamilton’s crazy day continued on a pit stop later, when the crew had huge trouble with the tire gun, costing Lewis something like 30 seconds in the box, with the crew wildly struggling to get the tire secured.
Winning Easily Becoming a Habit
So it was fantastically competitive racing today, with passing galore and plenty of drama, except for the identity of the eventual winner. Vettel is the coolest customer in the entire wide world of motor racing, looks like only a run of incredible bad luck could be a possible factor that could derail Sebastian’s quest for a second straight World Driving championship.
F1 teams return to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix in Catalunya May 2. One more chance for the cool customer to flash his easy winning ways.
Turkish Grand Prix Results – 8 May 2011 – 58 Laps
POS DRIVER NATIONALITY ENTRANT LAPS TIME/RETIRE
1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 58 1h30m17.558
2. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 58 8.807
3. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari 58 10.075
4. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 58 40.232
5. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes GP 58 47.539
6. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 58 59.431
7. Nick Heidfeld Germany Renault 58 1m00.857
8. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault 58 1m08.168
9. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 58 1m09.394
10. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 58 1m18.021
11. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 58 1m19.823
12. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes GP 58 1m25.444
13. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 57 1 Lap
14. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 57 1 Lap
15. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth 57 1 Lap
16. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 57 1 Lap
17. Pastor Moldonado Venezuela Williams-Cosworth 57 1 Lap
18. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Renault 57 1 Lap
19. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Renault 56 2 Laps
20. Jerome d’Ambrosio Belgium Virgin-Cosworth 56 2 Laps
21. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 55 3 Laps
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy HRT-Cosworth 53 5 Laps
R Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 44 Electronics
R Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 0 Gearbox
Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 48 1:29.703