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Turkey analysis - Red Bull on the run 31 May 2010

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren and Nicole Scherzinger (USA) Pussycat Dolls singer, celebrate with the team. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 30 May 2010 The damaged car of Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6 after colliding with team mate Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 30 May 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 30 May 2010 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Renault R30 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 30 May 2010 Bruno Senna (BRA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRTF1 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 30 May 2010

The collision between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel was undoubtedly the talking point of Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix, but the real story was the fact that Red Bull’s opposition - notably McLaren - has closed the gap on the once dominant team. Lewis Hamilton split the RB6s in qualifying and he and team mate Jenson Button applied a telling level of pressure in the race, culminating in a well-deserved one-two. We take a team-by-team look at events in Istanbul…

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, P1
Jenson Button, P2

McLaren were delighted that their MP4-25s had the race pace to take the fight to Red Bull, and delirious when the two energy drink cars collided on the 40th lap. There followed some tense moments in the camp as Hamilton and Button slogged it out while simultaneously trying to save fuel, but despite a bit of wheel rubbing as Hamilton regained the lead in Turn 1 on lap 49, all was well and they scooped 43 crucial points to grab back the lead in the constructors’ championship with 172 points to Red Bull’s 171, and catapult Hamilton and Button back into contention in the drivers’. Their tails are now well up with Canada the next stop.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, P3
Sebastian Vettel, retired, accident, lap 40

At one stage, after the first pit stops, it all seemed so good for Red Bull as Webber and Vettel ran one-two. There will be arguments forever about the cause of their collision on the 40th lap, and also why Vettel was able to drag up to Webber in the first place. Webber said he’d been instructed to turn his engine down to save fuel; the team’s argument is that Vettel didn’t have to because he’d saved fuel earlier, and thus had better grunt out of Turn 8. But that didn’t explain why the German appeared to turn into his team mate. Instead of 43 points they went home with 15 and lost the lead by a point to McLaren in the constructors’ stakes. But Webber still leads the drivers’.

Mercedes
Michael Schumacher, P4
Nico Rosberg, P5

Mercedes had much higher hopes than fourth and fifth places when they arrived in Turkey with their updated long-wheelbase MGP W01s, but that was all they proved to be good for once Vettel had removed himself.

Renault
Robert Kubica, P6
Vitaly Petrov, P15

Kubica said that being stuck behind the two Mercedes spoiled his race, and believed he could have run quicker had he been able to pass them. As it was he pressured Rosberg throughout while never making a mistake ahead of the challenging Massa, and scored yet more valuable points. Petrov was in excellent form all weekend, and deserved better than 15th place and fastest lap (thanks to a late stop to replace the right front tyre damaged in a light collision on the 54th lap with Alonso).

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, P7
Fernando Alonso, P8

What happened to Ferrari’s speed in Turkey? That was the overriding question in the Maranello camp. For the first time this year the red cars just couldn’t hack it, and both were stuck behind Renaults for most of the what was the Scuderia’s historic 800th race. Massa could do nothing about Kubica, and it took Alonso all race and a little bit of contact to finally unseat Petrov. The alarm bells are sounding here.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, P9
Tonio Liuzzi, P13

Sutil drove another good race despite losing time with a problem with the right front wheel during his pit stop. He made a nice, aggressive pass on Kobayashi late in the race, which was subsequently rewarded when 10th place became ninth as Petrov pitted with a puncture on lap 54. Liuzzi had better race pace but once again found his VJM03 gripless in comparison with his team mate’s.

BMW Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, P10
Pedro de la Rosa, P11

As one insider remarked, BMW Sauber never envisaged being happy about a 10th place finish at the start of the year. But their hard-fought first point was gratefully accepted after Kobayashi and De la Rosa gave their crew nervous moments in the closing stages. In view of what had happened with the Red Bull and, to a lesser extent, the McLaren team mates, it was nail-biting watching the Japanese and the Spaniard finish only two-tenths of a second apart. Kobayashi had earlier run ahead of Sutil, but had to back off in Turn 8 when he started to see canvass appearing through his right front tyre.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari, P12
Sebastien Buemi, P16

Buemi’s race was ruined when he lost momentum trying to pass a slow-starting De la Rosa round the outside of Turn 3. That forced him wide and let Hulkenberg by, and as the Swiss tried to repass the German in Turn 7, the Williams understeered into the Toro Rosso, puncturing the right rear tyre.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, P14
Nico Hulkenberg, P17

Both Williams finished the race, which was a relief after the troubles in Monaco, but 14th and 17th places were nothing to cheer. Barrichello had a clutch problem that ruined his start, then encountered a problem with a front wheel when he decided to stop earlier than planned as his pace was better than the cars immediately ahead. Hulkenberg’s race was compromised from the start when he and Buemi got together in Turn 7, puncturing the front left tyre.

Virgin
Timo Glock, P18
Lucas di Grassi, P19

Virgin won the new team’s race, but not without a big fight. Di Grassi started from the pit lane after oil systems problems were solved which had necessitated removal of the Cosworth engine. Glock lost a place to Senna at the start, fought back, and was able to pull away and moved ahead in the newbie stakes when the two Lotuses retired. Five laps from the end his hydraulics also malfunctioned, but he was able to make it to the flag with just fifth gear operative. Di Grassi went on to have a spirited fight with Senna as both VR01s finished.

HRT
Karun Chandhok, P20 DNF
Bruno Senna, retired lap 46, fuel system

Senna enjoyed a really good fight with Di Grassi’s Virgin, which showcased the HRT F110’s similar speed, so was disappointed when his fuel system malfunctioned and forced him out. Chandhok elected to start on the harder Bridgestones and struggled until the options went on at his first pit stop. Subsequently he picked up pace, but also ran into problems with his fuel pump and was not running at the finish.

Lotus
Jarno Trulli, retired lap 33, hydraulics
Heikki Kovalainen, retired lap 33, hydraulics

As usual the Lotuses looked stronger in the race than in qualifying as they lapped less than two seconds slower than their benchmark, the Cosworth-engined Williams, but this time they were let down at similar points in the race with hydraulic problems, Kovalainen in the pits, Trulli out on the track.