- Turkish Grand Prix
Driver-by-driver run downLaurence Edmondson and Chris Medland May 8, 2011
Sebastian Vettel -1st - Another peerless drive from the reigning world champion, who appears to have stepped up to a new level this season. What could have been a costly mistake on Friday ultimately mattered little, as he only needed one lap to secure pole and then eased away at the front to such an extent that his final pitstop was a luxury. Had plenty in hand today.
Mark Webber - 2nd - An encouraging race in terms of finishing position for Webber, but still some distance away from the level of his team-mate. A poor start saw him jumped by Rosberg and have to defend from Hamilton in to turn one, and that ruined any chance of chasing Vettel. Did well to see off Alonso's charge and will hope to continue his run of 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd this season in Barcelona.
Fernando Alonso - 3rd - The surprise package of the race. Took full advantage of Hamilton running wide on the first lap and then more than kept pace with Webber. Kept the pressure on until his tyres would allow him to attack, and threatened to leave the Red Bull behind before Webber's final set of tyres saw him regain second. Didn't put a wheel out of place and fully deserves his first podium of the season.
Lewis Hamilton - 4th - A surprising lack of aggression ultimately cost him as he backed off in to turn one when alongside the slow starting Webber. Running wide in turn three then dropped him behind Alonso and Button, but his race pace would ultimately rule him out of contention anyway. Drove well to recover from a poor pit stop to finish best of the rest, but never had the pace to challenge the top three.
Nico Rosberg - 5th - Will ultimately be disappointed with fifth after such an encouraging start where he followed Vettel in to turn one, but more solid points for Mercedes. Struggled massively with his tyres in the first stint as his car looked a shadow of the one that had qualified in third place, especially twitchy at the rear end in the higher speed corners. Used two sets of hard tyres in the middle of the race to allow him to climb back up in the closing stages, and showed good patience if nothing else.
Jenson Button - 6th - Looked in good shape early on as he punish Hamilton's error to take fifth, and then battled with his team-mate in the opening stint. In trying to make a three stop strategy work he soon slipped back, and the strategy was effectively ruined when he was stuck behind Massa and Rosberg in the middle stages, long before his final set of tyres went off. His complaints that the team pitted him too early displayed his frustration.
Nick Heidfeld - 7th - Traffic was his nemesis as he battled in the midfield for much of the race, at one point even having contact with his team-mate. With Ferrari and Mercedes showing improved pace he couldn't have got much more out of the car, although the speed with which he reeled in Button late on showed that the R31 is still a competitive one.
Vitaly Petrov - 8th - Was unfortunate to have his race compromised so early on when Schumacher hit him on the second lap, especially as his initial move had been an impressive one. May have been a touch over-aggressive against his team-mate when they made contact after turn 13, but drove hard until the end and managed to jump Buemi on the last lap for extra points.
Sebastien Buemi - 9th - Drove with impressive maturity as he was the first driver to really make a three-stop strategy work. Forced his way forward as others pitted to a high of fifth place, and showed good consistency on worn tyres late in the race. Even though he was powerless to defend from the Renaults Buemi recognised that two points were a good return.
Kamui Kobayashi - 10th - Outstanding drive from the back of the grid to secure a point, which could have been more had it not been for a puncture after contact with Buemi. While he was expected to provide entertainment his ability to preserve tyres while making moves in the first stint was crucial. Moved up well to fourth on his first set of hard tyres, running quickly and much longer than those ahead of him, and even managed to pass Schumacher having been pushed on the grass on the fastest part of the track. Made excellent use of his tyres as Webber did in China.
Felipe Massa - 11th - Looked quick in the first stint as he passed Hamilton in to 12, but immediately lost the place in the pit stops and his race unravelled from there. Flat spotted a set of tyres when he very nearly ran in to the back of Button and had another delayed stop when he allowed his rear wheels to spin in the air. Lost three places when he ran wide at turn 9 as well. A scrappy race.
Michael Schumacher - 12th - Another race that shows the race craft is no longer with the seven time world champion. His race was over as soon as he turned in to Petrov on lap two and broke his front wing, and he pushed Kobayashi on to the grass at nearly 200mph as he tried to recover. Spent the rest of the race battling with Toro Rossos and Barrichello, and as he said himself after the race, "The big joy is not there right now."
Adrian Sutil - 13th - Made the most of a three-stop strategy which was probably the best option from where he started on the grid. Put simply the car wasn't quick enough to trouble the points, but he did have a good battle with Sergio Perez towards the end of the race and the pair crossed the line separated by less than a tenth of a second.
Sergio Perez - 14th - Another missed points opportunity thanks to another rookie mistake. This time he clobbered Pastor Maldonado from behind early in the race, claiming "I couldn't avoid hitting him". He had to stop for a new front wing and on a fresh set of tyres actually held the fastest lap for a short period of the race. The car was quick enough for points but Perez still wasn't consistent enough.
Rubens Barrichello - 15th - Points were on the cards this weekend but a faulty KERS unit meant he lost his boost and the car became difficult under braking. It now means this season is the worst in the team's history, surpassing 1979 when Williams scored points at its fourth race. The good news is that the car has clearly made some progress over one lap since the flyaway races.
Jaime Alguersuari - 16th - His rear tyres were in a terrible state for most of the race and it became a constant struggle to keep the rear of the Toro Rosso under control. Quite why his tyres degraded more quickly than team-mate Buemi is a mystery and one that will undoubtedly stick in the back of his mind until he gets back on track at his home race in two weeks time.
Pastor Maldonado - 17th - His weekend started off badly with a couple of accidents in Friday practice and didn't get much better over Saturday and Sunday. He suffered with oversteer throughout the race and his lap times fluctuated from reasonable to poor as a result. He then got caught speeding in the pit lane, rounding off another disappointing performance from the GP2 champion.
Jarno Trulli - 18th - A respectable drive and the first time he has finished ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen since the opening round in Australia. He is slowly getting on top of his problems with the feel of the T128's power steering, but he still reckons the best is yet to come.
Heikki Kovalainen - 19th - A hydraulic problem caused issues with his DRS and the differential, making the car a bit of a handful. He got his Lotus to the finish nonetheless, although opting for hard tyres in both of his final two stints was probably a mistake.
Jerome d'Ambrosio - 20th - It was a good race weekend for d'Ambrosio after he was faster than team-mate Timo Glock throughout practice and in qualifying. In the race he did everything the team expected of him and was the only driver to two-stop, which is an achievement in itself given the levels of degradation.
Narain Karthikeyan - 21st - Another race finish for the Indian but he finished a lap behind d'Ambrosio. If anything it proved the HRT is still some way short of Virgin on race pace despite closing the gap in qualifying.
Tonio Liuzzi - 22nd - He finished five laps down on race winner Sebastian Vettel after a problem with a wheel nut during one of his pit stops. When he was on track the car chewed up its front tyres and he was a long way off the pace.
Paul di Resta - DNF - His race came to an end on lap 44 although strangely the team was not letting on as to why, with deputy team principal saying "we identified a fault with the car" and nothing more. It made little difference as he looked destined to finish outside the top ten.
Timo Glock - DNS - Gearbox - After a difficult weekend trying and failing to get the MVR-02's new blown diffuser to work, things went from bad to worse when the car lost fifth gear on the way to the grid. The team attempted to change the gearbox but didn't have enough time to complete the task.
Laurence Edmondson is a deputy editor on ESPNF1
Chris Medland is an assistant editor on ESPNF1