Vettel looks unstoppable after Turkish win
Sebastian Vettel continued his dominance of the 2011 Formula One season with victory in the Turkish Grand Prix today.
The Red Bull driver encountered few problems en route to his third win in four races this season after starting from pole position for the fourth consecutive grand prix.
Mayhem often unfolded behind the German, but come the conclusion in Istanbul it was Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber who finished second to secure the team's 11th career one-two.
For the first time this season Ferrari's Fernando Alonso clambered onto the podium to put his team's inauspicious start behind them.
The leading trio finished within 10 seconds of one another, and a long way clear of McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who at least retains his second place in the drivers' standings, albeit 34 points behind Vettel.
"You beauty Seb," was Red Bull team principal Christian Horner's message to Vettel after he took the chequered flag, to which the 23-year-old replied: "Yes, yes, it was beautiful."
On the evidence of yet another action-packed race, gone are the days of the one-stop strategy and processional grands prix as DRS (the moveable rear wing), the KERS power-boost system and degradable tyres from new manufacturers Pirelli now rule.
The result, as we saw to head-spinning effect in China three weeks ago - and to a far lesser degree in Australia and Malaysia prior to that - are multi-stop grands prix resplendent with bucketloads of overtaking manoeuvres.
It is fair to suggest there have been more passes in the first four races of this new era of F1 - certainly the last two especially - than we have in the last four seasons combined.
It has got to the point where you are not quite sure where to look, and that would certainly appear to be the case for the television cameras as they found themselves concentrating on action down the field rather than on one of the leader's pit stops.
The early stages were dominated by a fascinating tussle between the McLaren duo of Hamilton and Jenson Button, sparked by a lap one charge from Hamilton on Webber he failed to pull off.
Forced to run wide at one stage, from fourth place Hamilton dropped to sixth as Alonso and Button gratefully accepted the present.
Then came a battle royal as first Hamilton scythed his way past his fellow Briton before Button responded a lap later.
Turn 12 was proving to be a hotspot for action, with that corner the end of the DRS activation zone and the long straight before it the one place where the drivers could open their rear wing to gain additional speed.
Renault's Vitaly Petrov shot down the inside of Michael Schumacher's Mercedes on lap two at that particular turn. The Russian, however, ran over the German's front wing which forced Schumacher into an earlier than planned stop, compromising his race.
Schumacher was not the only driver Petrov aggravated as he also bumped wheels with his own team-mate Nick Heidfeld out of turn 12 and into 13 later on, prompting a furious hand gesture from the more experienced man.
Further into the drama there was a stunning scrap between Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa in his Ferrari and the McLaren of Button for a fourth place team-mate Hamilton had given up after a second stop.
First Massa scythed his way through at turn 12, only for Rosberg to respond a lap later, and then on the following lap, the Brazilian again netted fourth.
Button also attacked, and somewhat astonishingly made his move on the outside of turn 14 that leads into the home straight.
It was, however, strategy that played the key role, and in this case four stops held sway, although Button attempted three.
The 31-year-old could only manage sixth for his troubles, as he also came home behind Rosberg, an astonishing 59.4 seconds adrift of Vettel.
In the closing stages he had no answer to first Hamilton and then Rosberg on slightly older rubber and has now dropped to fourth in the standings, 47 points down, with Webber up to third, 38 behind his team-mate.
Webber, who enjoyed a fine feud with Alonso at various stages, did enough on lap 50 to force his way through to claim his best result of the season.
Behind Button, the top 10 was completed by the Renault duo of Heidfeld and Petrov, with Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi ninth and Kamui Kobayashi 10th in his Sauber after starting at the back of the grid.
Force India's Paul di Resta was the only driver to retire in the race, as Virgin Racing's Timo Glock did not even start due to a gearbox problem.
"It went to plan, a smooth race, a good start which was crucial as we were able to pull a gap in the first stint, and then we could react to what anybody else was doing," said Vettel.
"It made my life easier to find out what strategy worked."
Referring to the fact he missed second practice following a heavy crash on Friday, Vettel added: "My guys, as well as Mark's helped to repair it.
"It meant extra hours, but I'm pleased with the result and big thanks to the team."
Commenting on the considerable lead he now possesses, Vettel said: "We saw last season how quickly things can change.
"We have to go step by step, but a good start to the season always helps.
"We've only had four of 19 races, so I think you can work out how many points are left."
Webber felt he could not have done any more in the race as he said: "I had a good fight with Fernando.
"We used the DRS to get our moves done, but in the end the tyres were the key for me as I had a fresh set after only doing one quick lap in qualifying compared to Fernando.
"Congratulations to Sebastian, another victory, he is on a roll, but this is the maximum I could have done today."
Alonso was just happy to be in the mix with the Red Bulls as he said: "We've had a good weekend overall.
"The car performed better than it did in the first three races of the season, so I'm happy with this.
"Fighting with Red Bull these days is not easy, so to be up there with them is a good sign, and hopefully we can be closer next time."
Wow - what a weekend for British Motorcycle racing!
by Luke Wilkins
22 May 2013 05:00 AM
The dust is barely settling on the Premier League season and the bookies are looking to persuade us ...
by Gareth Purnell
22 May 2013 02:01 AM
The guard has changed at Old Trafford for the first time in 26 years. Meanwhile, down the road, the ...
by The Sports Lawyer
21 May 2013 10:01 PM
- 1 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Bloody attack brings terror to capital’s streets
- 2 Mothers' diets may harm IQs in two-thirds of babies
- 4 Eyewitness gives extraordinary account of her confrontation with Woolwich attackers
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.