May 8, 2011
Vettel leads Red Bull sweep in Turkish GP
Sebastian Vettel padded his lead in the Formula One world championship by winning Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix in dominating fashion, while his teammate, Mark Webber, crossed the line in second to give Red Bull Racing a 1-2 finish.
Vettel, the defending F1 titleholder, started on the pole and relinquished the lead only when he first pitted during the 58-lap race at Istanbul Park. He finished 8.8 seconds ahead of Webber.
The 23-year-old German notched his third victory in the first four grand prix this season. It was also his 13th career F1 win.
"I think we had a smooth race," Vettel said. "We had a good start, which was crucial. I was able to pull a gap right in the first stint, which was important. We could afford to stay out a lot longer and wait to see what the others were doing in terms of strategy."
Vettel crashed in the opening practice session on Friday. He rebounded the following day by leading the way in final practice and then collecting his fifth pole in as many grand prix.
"I crashed the car badly in practice on Friday, and all the guys, including the guys from Mark's car, helped a lot," he said. "Together, they fixed the car, which meant extra hours for them and I'm sorry for. I think yesterday and today makes up for it."
The Turkish GP featured a tremendous amount of passing for position, thanks in part to KERS (Kinetic Energy Reduction System) and the drag reduction system (moveable rear wing).
Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso swapped the second spot several times before Webber took the position for good with seven laps remaining.
"The fight with Fernando during the middle of the race was a little bit unexpected," Webber said. "I think he drove fantastic, and it was a good fight. The both of us used the DRS to get the moves done, so that was part of it. I think the tires played a huge role at the end."
Alonso, who finished second to Vettel in points last year, earned his first podium this season with a third-place result.
"We had a good weekend overall," Alonso said. "The car performed a bit better than what it did in the first three races for the championship. Finally, we enjoyed racing for a podium position."
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who won the Chinese Grand Prix three weeks ago, bounced back from a pit-road mishap in the middle of the race to finish fourth. Hamilton had a lengthy stop due to a right-front tire issue.
"Pit stops are something we can always improve," said Hamilton, who won last year's Turkish GP.
Nico Rosberg from Mercedes finished fifth, followed by Hamilton's teammate, Jenson Button, and Renault drivers Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov.
Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi from Sauber completed the top-10. Kobayashi started from the rear of the 24-car field. He did not post a qualifying time due to engine failure on the opening lap. Race stewards allowed him to race, despite not meeting F1's new Q1 107 percent time rule.
Petrov and Michael Schumacher made contact on the second lap, with Schumacher having to pit for a new front wing on his Mercedes. The seven-time F1 champion wound up finishing 12th.
Vettel has now accumulated 93 championship points, compared to 59 for Hamilton and 55 for Webber.