Sunday, 30 May 2010

Hamilton victorious as Bulls go mental

Lewis Hamilton became the 5th different this season with victory at Istanbul Park. Team mate Jenson Button was 2nd giving McLaren their second 1-2 of the season. For part of the race it looked like it would be Red Bull celebrating a 1-2 but it all went wrong when on lap 40 when Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber collided on the approach to turn 12. Vettel retired on the spot while Webber had to pit for a new front wing but still made the podium. It was a thrilling 4 way battle at the front and they were well clear of the cars behind as Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg came 4th and 5th. Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa were close throughout, rubbing tyres on lap 1 and the Renault just managing to stay ahead when both drivers pitted on the same lap. Fernando Alonso's progress through the field was limited, the Spaniard started on the soft tyre but remained 12th before moving to tenth at the stops. He was on Vitaly Petrov's tail but the Russian drove a great race and was unfortunate that contact with Alonso late on gave him a puncture and put him out of the points. Adrian Sutil was 9th for Force India while Kamui Kobayashi got Sauber on the scoreboard, even trying to race Sebastien Buemi towards the end who was a lap down after a first lap puncture and was going quickly on fresh tyres.

Both McLarens suffered from starting on the dirty side of the grid but fought back on the opening lap with their F-Ducts. Hamilton made a brilliant move on Vettel into turn 3, making it stick around the outside. Meanwhile Button was all over the gearbox of Schumacher and made a clean move on the outside of turn 12. The top 4 pulled away and Hamilton was all over Webber, coming close to making a move on several laps. At Red Bull it's usually the driver in front who gets the preference on pitting but it was Vettel who pitted first. This may have been a strategic move though as it meant Hamilton had to pit on the following lap to cover Vettel so couldn't jump Webber without beating him in a straight fight between the pit crews. Hamilton had a slow stop after an issue with the left rear tyre. It's not known if it was a similiar nut issue as both cars had in Barcelona. Hamilton soon had a go at passing Vettel but went too deep into the hairpin. Hamilton described Vettel's tactics as dangerous. Then the unexpected threat of rain came into the mix. Radars showed showers were incoming and reports from nearby areas indicated it. There were some light spots but with the track temperature still at 35 degrees, it was not causing major grip issues.

With 20 laps to go, Vettel was starting to close on Webber while the McLarens were still well in touch. It was already proving to be a fantastic race but then came the major drama. Vettel came out of turn 10 and down the back straight caught his team mate. Webber left him the width of a RB6 on the inside which Vettel took. The German was moving ahead but was on the dirty side as they approache turn 12. Vettel moved right but wasn't fully ahead of the Australian who maintained his line. They touched and Vettel went spinning with a damaged right rear tyre as Webber went deep into turn 12. The cars almost collided again in the run off area as Vettel gestured furiously. He also made the mental sign when out of the car. So what was going on amongst the madness? Well firstly, on the same lap Webber had went into a fuel safe mode so that would have lost him some performance. Vettel had more fuel than his team mate at this point. On the actual overtaking attempt it was Vettel's fault. He turned into Webber and caused the collision. Webber gave him just enough space, it was hard but fair racing. The argument against Webber could be that as he was battling his team mate who was already in prime position to take the lead, he should have made the overtake easier for Vettel, thus reducing the risk of it going wrong. Vettel was ahead but will have wanted to get across the track as braking offline may have lost him the position. Senior figures in the team, including Christian Horner and Helmut Marko, seemed to side with Vettel, making the point that their drivers were racing too close. Neither Webber or Vettel apologised for the incident.

It was a dream ticket for McLaren as they took first and second but they had their own partypiece to display. Both drivers had been told to save fuel but suddenly Button closed in on Hamilton. He made a move on the outside of turn 12 and took the lead through turn 13 but going too deep compromised the World Champion into the last corner. Hamilton fought back and dived down the inside at turn 1 with slight contact and just about made it through. It was a superb battle with both drivers showing great skill. The battle cooled after that but Hamilton seemed downbeat afterwards, saying he was surprised at Button's move. Hamilton seem to think that the battle was off and that they were holding station. It was a huge result for the Woking team and the important thing here is through the drama of the day, McLaren were on Red Bull's pace. It seems they have taken a big step forward with their car. They were able to run a low ride height on Saturday yet it didn't spoil their speed on full tanks so have they been able to work out the best way of optimising the ride height of their car, as many suspected Red Bull had at the start of the season. They ran the car very stiff and this may be not possible at Montreal though it is a track they and Hamilton in particular have excelled in the past.

The championship is turning into a thriller and with Canada next, we could have another cracker on our hands. The spice is increasing also with the Webber and Vettel relationship at high tension while Button continues to show his capability against Hamilton. Ferrari had a poor weekend but Fernando Alonso says wait till Valencia and see us then. It's believed a big update for the F10 could include a rear end and exhaust system similiar to the RB6. Mercedes are solid but not quick enough to be in the championship hunt while Renault's development has been spectacular with Eric Boullier praisng Robert Kubica as a strong racer who makes no mistakes. Kubica won the last race in Canada in 2008 but Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher also know the winning feeling there. Will Red Bull add a winner to that list? Well they need to overcome mechancial and mental fragility

No comments:

Post a Comment