Sebastian Vettel made it 3 wins out of four as he won the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix, leading from pole to flag. It was a 1-2 finish for Red Bull as Mark Webber finished second ahead of the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso in third.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton finished fourth ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in fifth & Jenson Button in sixth. The two Renaults of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov finished seventh and eighth, with Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi in ninth and Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi taking the final point in tenth place.
The race was incident free but one which saw a fair bit of overtaking, thanks in no small part to the DRS (drag reduction system) which made some of the overtaking manoeuvres seem quite easy! Tyre wear also played a part in the results as most of the front-runners opted for a 4-stop strategy – only Jenson Button finishing with just the 3 stops.
Vettel made a stonking start to the race but those starting on the dirty side of the track had not the greatest of starts – including Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton & Jenson Button. Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso benefited from their better start and slotted behind Vettel as the initial laps were completed. Once the DRS was activated, there were overtaking moments galore as almost everyone in the top fifteen took out at least one overtaking move over their rivals!
There were a couple of messy pit stops as well, especially from McLaren and even Ferrari as Hamilton and Massa suffered from shoddy stops. Whilst the front-right tyre won’t come off from Hamilton’s car at his third stop, the rear-right one was stubborn for Massa. The outcome was worse for the Ferrari driver as he could only finish 11th and out of the points.
Red Bull: Had a strong qualifying and finished equally strong in the race – a 1-2 finish! Whilst Vettel was untouchable, Webber lost out at the start but clawed back to finish second after having the better tyres in the last stint, enabling him to pass Alonso into second place.
Ferrari: Would take encouragement from Alonso’s drive and finish. Hoped better for Massa as well but some pit-lane errors cost them dear.
McLaren: Hamilton and Button didn’t have the best of starts and weren’t helped with dodgy pit-lane performances but they finished well, in 4th and 6th places.
Renault: There were no rocket-off-the-grid starts here but Heidfeld and Petrov drove an intelligent race to finish in the points
Mercedes: Had a decent qualifying session and would have hoped for a better showing in the race but Schumacher’s aggressive move over Petrov meant him losing a front wing and throwing his whole race apart. Rosberg was running as high as second but it steadily went down from there – two continuous stints on the hard tyres didn’t go well for him – and fifth place is but a consolation
Red Bull will head out of Istanbul with the maximum points but the other teams will have cause for optimism as they hope to make some progress throughout the European leg of the season.
Next Race is at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona on 21st and 22nd of May