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Turkey race analysis - can anyone catch Button now? 08 Jun 2009

Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix celebrates victory with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 7 June 2009 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 7 June 2009 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF109 leads Timo Glock (GER) Toyota TF109.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 7 June 2009 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari and Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren in a FOTA team principals' and drivers' meeting.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 7 June 2009 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 7 June 2009

The Turkish Grand Prix was expected to be the best hope yet for the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari to break Brawn’s stranglehold on 2009. Jenson Button had other ideas, describing his BGP001 as ‘perfect’ as he cruised to his sixth win in seven races. Chinks did appear in Brawn’s armour, with the team’s first retirement, but it was scant consolation for their rivals. Red Bull were happy, nonetheless, with their two-three result and Toyota and BMW Sauber were pleased to be back in the points. Less content were Ferrari, who found their recent form slipping away. We take a team-by-team look at Sunday’s race…

Brawn GP
Jenson Button, P1
Rubens Barrichello, retired Lap 47, gearbox

Button was over the moon with the performance of his Brawn and said that while it had been good everywhere this season, this was the first time it was absolutely perfect. So much so that he would have liked to drive it for another 200 laps. Once he had taken advantage of Vettel’s first-lap error, he had virtually a clear run, only being slightly concerned as Vettel came right back at him prior to the German’s second fuel stop when the Red Bull was at its lightest and most competitive. Barrichello was doomed the moment a clutch problem sent his BGP001 into anti-stall mode at the start and dropped him to 12th. Errors which led to contact with Kovalainen and Sutil, the latter necessitating a new front wing, further delayed him, and he retired after 47 laps with ongoing transmission trouble. It was Brawn’s first failure to finish this year.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, P2
Sebastian Vettel P3

Perhaps the fact that they chose a three-stop strategy for Vettel was an indication that Red Bull did not truly expect to beat Brawn this time out. Vettel ruined his slim chance by running wide exiting Turn 10 on the opening lap, thus losing the lead to Button, and thereafter his strategy worked against him. He said afterwards that he was surprised the team had not reverted thereafter to a two-stop. Webber stopped only twice, pushed hard throughout, and matched his previous best result with a solid second. 14 more points for the team were a great haul even if they didn’t win, and brought their tally thus far to 56.5.

Jarno Trulli, P4
Timo Glock, P8

After the debacle at Monaco, fourth and eighth were reasonable results for Toyota. Trulli was always in contention for fourth place, and two normally spaced stops worked well for him. Glock did a very long opening stint and had risen to fifth when he finally pitted on Lap 30. Thereafter he needed one more quick one to switch to Bridgestone’s soft rubber, and he came back strongly against Kubica for seventh in the closing stages but could not find a way by.

Nico Rosberg, P5
Kazuki Nakajima, P12

Rosberg was always in contention for a decent helping of points and drove well all afternoon after making a strong start. Nakajima made some amends for his Monaco gaffe with a competitive showing that was ultimately blighted by a sticking wheel nut in his second stop which stole his strong chance of points.

Felipe Massa, P6
Kimi Raikkonen, P9

Once again Ferrari came away from a disappointing 2009 Grand Prix, perhaps the more so after competitive showings in Barcelona and Monaco. Massa made a decent start but soon came to realise that a fourth consecutive win just wasn’t going to happen and that sixth was the best he could expect. The F60 just wasn’t fast enough. Raikkonen lost valuable places at the start and was thus always on his back foot, and was the first non-points finisher.

BMW Sauber
Robert Kubica, P7
Nick Heidfeld, P11

Incredible as it may seem, this was Kubica’s first points-scoring finish of a tough season, and he reported a hard run with somebody to fight or to challenge virtually throughout. Heidfeld had a problem on his F1.09 as it pulled to one side and had little grip from its left front tyre. He reported that it also stopped on a dime even when he used the brakes only gently.

Fernando Alonso, P10
Nelson Piquet, P16

Alonso said he didn’t really expect to finish in the points, especially as having the lightest fuel load at the start merely dropped him into the heavy traffic when he made his first refuelling stop on the 14th lap. Piquet had a good dice with Hamilton and overtook his old GP2 sparring partner in a nice bit of work at the end of the lap, but was disappointed with 16th place at the finish.

Lewis Hamilton, P13
Heikki Kovalainen, P14

Hamilton struggled throughout with a car that simply lacked grip, and said that 13th place was the best that could be wrung from it. Kovalainen had a good battle with Barrichello, but things were so bad Mercedes simply turned down his engine in the second half to preserve it for a better race. Assuredly this was not one of a great team’s best days.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, P15
Sebastien Bourdais, P18

This was a tough one for the two Sebs, especially as their Red Bull stablemates did so well. They cannot get upgrades on their STR4s fast enough.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, P17
Giancarlo Fisichella, retired Lap 4, brakes

Disappointment came early for Vijay Mallya’s team as Fisichella quit with a brake problem on Lap Four despite the system being changed almost completely after his practice problems. Sutil survived a brush with Barrichello on the 12th lap. Overall, he was pleased with his VJM02’s balance and race pace.