Could the Turkish Grand Prix have serious ramifications for Red Bull’s title bid?

The outcome of the Turkish Grand Prix has added yet another interesting factor behind this enthralling championship, and one which may be allowed to run and run if not adequately dealt with by Red Bull.

Forumula1.com draws upon past comparisons and future hypotheses to consider which way the potential saga between Webber and Vettel may turn next.

So there we have it. As many predicted before the start of the season we have finally had our first inter-team crisis between two top line drivers.

However, surprisingly, the two warring sides were not Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso at Ferrari or the driving pairings at Mercedes and McLaren. Instead in the blink of an eye the Turkish Grand Prix provided the start to the potential breakdown in relations between Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

Casting all engine conspiracies to one side,  it is clear that there is an evident split within the team and that it could have a destablising impact  even if we are told otherwise.

On the exterior Formula One’s entrants usually like to present their in-house atmosphere as one of peace and tranquillity. However, in reality when the gloves are off and both men find themselves fighting for the championship, things usually sour -and more often than not it only takes one event on track to upset the apple cart.

Yesterday’s moment was played out in a similar fashion to what has happened in the sport’s past. It was exactly the case for igniting the famous Prost and Senna standoff at McLaren in the late 1980s. Then, in Estoril ’88, the former felt that his McLaren team-mate had foolishly pushed him up against the pit wall as he tried to pass. This in turn would act as the catalyst to the cold war which developed inside the team and which would transpire up until the Frenchman’s unsavoury departure at the end of the following year.

Therefore, could the collision between the two Red Bull drivers have the same effect and continue to tear away at the very fibre which bounds the team together? Well, there is every possibility when you consider that Vettel and Webber have previous history. Who could forget their incident under safety car conditions during the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix when Webber – who was lining up to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the race – was collected by Vettel in the Toro Rosso.

Subsequently, Webber launched a verbal tirade on Vettel – questioning his experience and blaming him for his inability to claim his elusive first victory. A tearful Vettel apologised immediately afterwards for his error – something that will not be replicated at present.

Fast forward events to just before Turkey 2010 and the mood could not have been any different in the Red Bull garage. With the strongest car in the field and comfortably leading both championships, team spirit was at an all time high. Furthermore, Webber and Vettel appeared at ease with one another both with a desire to claim their maiden championship, but not at the expense of disrupting the harmony within the team.

Now, given that both drivers are continuing to point the finger at each other for yesterday’s crash, those days appear a long and distant memory. But was a situation like this inevitable? As history would suggest it is often normal for the relationship between team-mates to become considerably strained once the lure of the championship crown is dangled above them.

Either way, suspicion will now surely surround these two for the rest of the year. Admittedly, most of this will be merely manufactured by the media, but even so there will still be a sense of apprehension which will trickle down to the rest of the team. Both drivers will be even more curious to find out why the other is running a certain program or if they can claim any new parts before the other. Potentially data will be kept from each other, garages will be divided, mistakes will be made and the likelihood for on-track accidents will increase. Do not expect either driver to play the team game like they did before.

Especially not Mark Webber, whose momentum of late has clearly been a bit of a headache for the team’s management. Although one does not doubt Red Bull insistance that it offers its drivers the utmost equality in terms of machinery, it is clear that there are a number who have a soft spot for Vettel. From a marketing side the German is the face of Red Bull Racing; the runaway success story of the company’s young driver programme and the man who was expected to stake his dominance over this year’s title pursuit. Helmut Marko, head of the programme is obviously very close to Vettel, but his opinion on the incident clearly demonstrates that a number of senior figures within the team do not blame the German for the accident and feel aggravated that Webber did not concede the place.

According to Marko’s comments, Webber should have been first to move as Vettel had got himself ahead on the run up to turn 12. But surely drivers would never concede a position until they had no other choice? Ultimately the Australian was under no obligation to do move across for his team-mate and duly held his line. If Webber had done this with say Hamilton then he would have been surely been praised for defending his position until the death? Although there remains little evidence to suggest that Red Bull’s management would prefer Vettel to take the title, it is something that will now be on the minds of fans and journalists alike whenever an issues arises again.

Ultimately, paranoia has a habit of creeping into any driver pairing on the grid just look at Lewis Hamilton’s demeanour when speaking to Jenson Button after the race. Even if it was only briefly, the Briton was left wondering why his team-mate had been allowed to attack him when both drivers were being asked to save fuel.

Sunday’s incident may also have ramifications for Mark Webber’s future at the team. Leading up to this weekend Christian Horner spoke openly about the team’s driver line-up for 2011 and said that he expected the Australian to stay. However, will this still be the case if this incident has permanently soured the mood inside the team? Could this force the 33-year-old to move elsewhere, potentially taking the title with him?

If so where could he go? Undoubtedly Felipe Massa’s seat would seem less at Ferrari, despite recent assurances that he would keep his seat at the Scuderia. Therefore the ramifications of a growing divide in Red Bull could reignite the drivers’ market and see a major shake up in next season’s line-ups.

Let’s be frank. When things go bad between team-mates they usually go extremely bad and Red Bull will hope to find a solution between its two drivers before it also finds itself embroiled in a bitter civil war.

Having the best car means nothing when your drivers are at war and taking points off each other. If this situation is allowed to continue then the team could easily find itself empty handed at the end of the season – with the likes of McLaren’s sneaking through the back door to win both titles in a similar manner to that of Raikkonen in 2007.

Christian Horner has stated that he will act fast before the next round in Canada, but will he be too late?

So how do you think the fallout from the Turkish Grand Prix will affect the title battle? Will tensions rise between the Red Bull team-mates and if so will this allow the likes of McLaren and Ferrari to remain in the championship or even leapfrog the RB6 in terms of performance?

Figures show Williams in rude financial health

Williams has announced that it is in a strong financial position, after figures for 2008/2009 showed that the team made a profit.

The Grove-based operation made the announcement over the Turkish Grand Prix weekend and revealed that the majority of its budget is in place for next season.

“This year I am expecting results at least as good as 2009, very similar,” Chairman Adam Parr said in a report on the team’s official website. “For 2011, we’ve got pretty much where we typically are at this time of the year. We’ve got the majority of our budget covered for 2011 but we are in discussions with current partners and potential partners to build that up. I don’t know if any team has all of its budget covered for next year, unless somebody is literally writing a cheque.”

Figures show that Williams made a profit of 4.5 million pounds over the thirteen month period – lower than the 9.2 million made in the team’s previous financial results. Despite this the company reduced its overall indebtedness, ending the term with a net cash of 3.9 million compared to the net debt of 25.5 million which was recorded in November 2008.

Ultimately, Parr attributed much of the team’s financial success to the reduction of running costs in the sport, stating:

“Turnover was lower and it will be lower again this year,”

“But costs were also considerably lower. We were able to repay quite a considerable amount of debt last year and we have already repaid quite a lot this year. The bottom line is that the team has been profitable in the last two years.

“The figures are perhaps an encouragement that it is possible, but not easy, to compete. And it’s not going to get any easier in the coming years because we are in a very difficult economic environment.”

Horner vows to find peace at Red Bull

Red Bull Racing has explicitly told its drivers not to allow their crash in the Turkish Grand Prix have a destabilising effect on the team’s title bid.

The warning comes from team principal Christian Horner, who will undoubtedly play a central role in making sure that the conflict is resolved.

On Lap 40 of the race team-mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel collided while out in front – with the latter being forced to retire. Subsequently, neither driver accepted responsibility for the incident and pointed the finger squarely at the other – dividing many within the team itself.

Furthermore, the matter was complicated by suggestions in the media and by fans that in the immediate aftermath of the incident Red Bull’s demeanour was more favourable towards Sebastian Vettel.

Subsequently, Horner has vowed to settle the issue as quickly as possible and to not let it disrupt the team’s championship challenge.

“The most important thing, and I have had this situation before with drivers in different formulas, is to get issues out into the open, deal with them and that is exactly what we will do here,” Horner told Autosport.com

“There is no animosity between the drivers. They are both competitive. They are both hungry animals, and it is down to us to ensure that they learn from this and it doesn’t happen again.”

Horner believes that both drivers must learn for the incident and realise that their actions also ruined the efforts of the entire team.

“I think both drivers will look at it, they will reflect on it, and it is important they learn from it,” he said.

“They represent a whole team and Red Bull when they are out their driving, and they know that what has happened has cost not only themselves but the team, and Red Bull, a lot of points.”

McLaren praise Hamilton and Button

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have been praised by their McLaren team for the way in which they handled themselves while racing wheel-to-wheel for victory in the Turkish Grand Prix.

Whereas title rivals Red Bull saw both of its drivers collide while leading the pack, Hamilton and Button engaged in a firm but fair duel in the closing laps of the Grand Prix – with the former eventually coming out on top.

With this McLaren’s chief engineer Tim Goss believes that the team is in a strong position, with both drivers capable of racing for the championship.

“Both our drivers are very, very sensible,” he is quoted by Autosport as saying. “They both handled themselves particularly well on the circuit and with the media.

“We employ them to be aggressive racing drivers. They like to fight; they are both world champions and out to prove they’re the best. But the way they have handled themselves on the circuit has been absolutely exceptional so far this year.

“There has been more than one occasion when they have been close to one another like that, and the two of them can race and avoid each other – unlike our next-door neighbours [Red Bull Racing] who clearly threw an easy one-two away.”

Although the RB6 is arguably the fastest car in the field, Red Bull has so far failed to maximise its position, having made a number of mistakes on and off the track. As a result Goss believes the workings of the team itself is just as important to achieve success.

“You’ve got to have a quick car and you have to get it to the finish,” he said. “In this race Red Bull Racing did not deliver, and they’ve not delivered because their two drivers are racing. Our two drivers were racing, but I think that just shows how well our two drivers can manage themselves on the circuit.”

Red Bull denies Vettel favouritism

Red Bull Racing has denied suggestions that it is favouring Sebastian Vettel over Mark Webber, after it emerged that the latter had turned his engine down on the lap which the two collided on.

Mark Webber had earlier fuelled speculation by telling journalists in the post-race press conference to do some digging to find out why Sebastian Vettel appeared to be considerably faster on the run up to the accident.

Following its post-race debrief Red Bull later confirmed these suspicions, revealing that Webber had to save fuel and was asked to turn his engine down, whereas his team-mate remained on full power.

Subsequently, the team stated that Vettel had been able to run his Renault engine at full strength for longer than Webber as he had saved more fuel earlier in the race. However, the German only had enough extra fuel to run one more lap before he would have been forced to turn down his power plant. This meant that the 22-year-old would only have one realistic chance to snatch victory.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Sunday night, team principal Christian Horner insisted that the outfit were well aware of the factors which lay behind the build up to the accident.

“We now have all the facts,” he said. “Mark had changed down into a fuel saving mode that cost him a little bit of performance on the straights, which also explains how Sebastian got a very clear run on him.

“The large mistake remains that not enough room was given, and the explanation is there on how Sebastian had managed to get into the tow. He had managed to save an extra kilogramme of fuel – as both cars start the race with the same amount of fuel.

“Effectively he had one more lap of the optimum engine mode, but we couldn’t back him off because he was under pressure from Lewis Hamilton behind.”

He added: “The frustrating thing is we have given away 28 points today and it should have been a 1-2. Both drivers have also lost points. From a team point of view it doesn’t matter which way around they are, but the priority is to finish 1-2 and that is exactly what we should have done today.”

Although Horner would not place the blame on any particular driver, he did believe that both men should have given each other more space on the race track.

“I think Mark put Sebastian on the dirty side, gave him just enough room and Sebastian came across obviously quite aggressively – but he was quite a long way down the side.

“So, it was very, very frustrating. We saw the McLarens racing each other and giving themselves a bit more room, we’ve seen drivers racing each other previously in Malaysia – which springs to mind as a recent race and they are usually very, very good at giving each other room. Today, for whatever reason, that didn’t happen.”

The Red Bull boss also moved to dispell suggestions that today’s incident was evidence that the team favoured Vettel over Webber.

“Both our drivers are treated absolutely equally,” he explained. “They both have the same equipment, they both have the same opportunity. That is a policy we operate and that is the way that the team is he managed to save a bit more fuel because he was in a slipstream for some of the race and he took advantage of that as is his right to do.

“He [Vettel] was under a lot of pressure from Hamilton behind, which got him into a position to pass Mark. Our priority at that stage is that we want to win the race. Even if the cars wanted to change position we were still first and second, and it is still 43 points for the team and both drivers were pulling away from McLaren in the championship.”

Horner’s comments were echoed by Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, who stated:

“We are handling our team and both drivers in the same way. Vettel was under such pressure and if such a situation comes up you have to look after the team. We still could have been 1-2.”

“It wasn’t a situation where we were racing each other. We were under enormous pressure from the McLarens they were much faster on the straights so we had to gain our advantage in the corners.

“He [Vettel] had to attack otherwise he would have got overtaken by Hamilton it would have been completely different if the McLarens were 10-seconds behind, but that wasn’t the case.”

However, when asked to comment on the incident, Marko said that he believed that Vettel had been right to turn back into the middle of the track as he was ahead of his team-mate.

“He [Vettel] was already ahead, at least two metres ahead, and there was a corner to the left side coming, so he had to go for the line,” he said. “He cannot brake on the dirt because for sure he knows what happens.

“But it was unnecessary the whole situation. We will talk with everybody quite clearly to make it not happen again.”

Red Bull drivers remain divided over Turkish GP crash

Red Bull suffered an agonising Turkish Grand Prix, as Mark Webber and Sebastian collided with each other while leading the field around the Istanbul Park Circuit.

Both RB6’s touched on lap 40 when Sebastian Vettel drew alongside his team-mate on the run up to turn 12. As a result, the Milton Keynes-based team threw away an expected one-two finish in a matter of seconds and allowed McLaren to capitalise.

Neither Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel would take any blame for the accident, firmly pointing the finger at each other for the team’s mishap. Although Vettel was eliminated on the spot, Webber managed to make it back to the pits to change his front nose cone and secure the final position the podium.

Mark Webber – 3rd:“Sebastian had a bit of a top speed advantage, he went down the inside and we were side by side. I was surprised when he came right suddenly, as I was holding my racing line. It happened very, very fast and it’s a shame for the team. Not an ideal day. The McLarens were solid and it was a good race between all four of us up at the front until then, neither of us wanted to make contact with each other. It’s obviously not ideal, but it happened. There was a long way to still go in the race, but that was an interesting few metres on the track between both of us. In the end it wasn’t the result that either of us wanted. We’ve got great character in our team and two fast drivers at the front – we’re not dicing for 15th and 16th we’re going for victories so there’s clearly a lot at stake. I’ll have a chat with Sebastian about it, we might have a difference of opinion but we’ll be adults about it and press on.”

Sebastian Vettel – DNF: “If you watch it on the TV, you can see what happened. I’m not in the happiest of moods. I was on the inside going into the corner. I was there, I was ahead and focusing on the braking point and then we touched. Mark’s car hit my rear right wheel and I went off there’s not much more to say. We were all on the same pace during the race, I think I was a bit quicker than Mark for two or three laps, I was catching him and thought I could get him on the back straight. I was very close and passed him on the left, that’s the story. This is something that happens, no one needs it, but there’s not much you can do now.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal:“It’s disappointing for the team to have got into that position today. The one thing I always ask the drivers is that, yes, they can race each other, but give each other room, and that’s exactly what didn’t happen. They were too far over on the left, Sebastian got a run on the inside of Mark, but then came across too early. They didn’t give each other room; it’s as simple as that. It was a massively close race between us and the McLarens up until that point. We managed to get ourselves ahead with a better pit-stop and a better strategy for Sebastian and were first and second. Sebastian was a bit happier on the prime tyre than Mark and was looking quicker at that point in the race. He got a run on Mark up the inside and we saw what happened. It’s massively disappointing and the situation shouldn’t have occurred. To give McLaren 28 points on a plate is very frustrating for everyone in the team especially after so much hard work. We’ve lost a lot of points today with what’s happened. We need to learn from it, so we don’t find ourselves in this position again.”

Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer Track Support:“Today’s result is a big shame. We had a very good result in our hands, but unfortunately we didn’t cement it. But, if we want to keep the positive, we have to underline that both cars were trouble free mechanically today the engines performed very well and we gave a very good defence on the long straight against the McLarens. We are still in a good position in both Championships, so let’s put this behind us and recover for the next race in Canada.”

McLaren take second one-two of the year in Turkey

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh described today’s Turkish Grand Prix as the perfect result for his team, as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson took advantage of the collision between Red Bull’s drivers to take their second one-two of the season.

Both drivers had been menacing from the start and took the fight to Red Bull throughout the race, with thanks to the superior straight line speed of the MP4-25.

Following the incident between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, the two British drivers soon became involved in their own inter-team battle for the lead. However, unlike Red Bull, Hamilton and Button kept the racing fair to finish the race in formation.

Lewis Hamilton – 1st:“It was quite an eventful race. I didn’t get a great start, it looked like I had a better reaction than Mark [Webber], but the car just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Fortunately, I was able to attack Sebastian [Vettel] into Turn Three – I got past him, which was a relief, then I was challenging Mark for a long time, before I lost some time to him at the pitstop, when my right rear took longer than normal to go on.

“So then I had to battle two Red Bulls rather than just one; it was hard enough trying to overtake one of them, so trying to overtaking two was really tough. But the good thing is that I had the race pace to keep up with them, even though I was having to keep an eye on my fuel consumption from early on. But anyway, unfortunately for them, they collided and enabled us to get past.

“After that, I felt confident we could get a potential one-two, and we were trying to look after the tyres and save the fuel to the finish. The [laptime] target they gave me was perhaps a little bit slower than they’d meant, so Jenson was suddenly on my tail. I had a great battle with him, and was happy to get past because it was quite a surprise.

“We’re allowed to race out there, but we have to be sensible. At the end of the day we’re a team: we both want to win the constructors’ title and we both want to win the drivers’ title. But we’re not stupid. I wouldn’t do anything dangerous to touch Jenson and vice versa and that’s the great thing about racing each other. We know we have that cushion and that respect for each other, so we don’t really have a problem with it.

“Having said all that, winning today doesn’t feel quite as good as it sometimes does. That’s because it’s a little bit different from some of my previous race victories: ideally, the racer in me wants to win by overtaking the guys in front, not by seeing them crash out in front of me. Rather than inheriting a win, it’s much nicer to fight your way past your rivals and earn the win the hard way.

“Still, I’m very happy for the team. My girlfriend is here too, which is nice, and my dad is on holiday and I really wanted to win today so that I could dedicate the win to him. It’s his 50th birthday tomorrow, you see, and a grand prix victory is the best birthday present I could ever give him.”

Jenson Button – 2nd:“What a crazy race! I got a good start, but I was stuck behind Lewis going into Turn One, and then Michael [Schumacher] was able to get round the outside of me. I got Michael back into Turn 12, though, which was very rewarding after Barcelona, and then it was four of us, two McLarens and two Red Bulls, who pulled away.

“It was very difficult to get close enough to overtake, but I was able to look after the tyres, and then just before the stop I pushed and was able to close up to Sebastian I thought maybe I could jump him but that wasn’t the case in the end. Even so, we were all running pretty close and anything could have happened at the end of the race which it duly bdid when the two Red Bulls got together, which gave Lewis and me a good one-two.

“We were then both told to conserve fuel although I’d already been conserving fuel for about 30 laps at that point actually and we never imagined the pace of the race would be so fast.

“At the end, I had a run on Lewis out of Turn Eight. I don’t know why he was a bit slow, but I got a good run into Turn 12 and managed to get past him. We had a good little battle and we were wheel-to-wheel for three corners, but it positioned me wrong for the final corner, I got a poor exit and he was able to get back past me along the pits straight and on the inside into Turn One.

“After that, I was told to save even more fuel because I was pretty close to critical. It was a tough battle, but we didn’t touch and we still finished first and second, so that’s how you do it.”

Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:“Today’s race had everything: drama, suspense, excitement and a perfect result from a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes point of view. The 43 world championship points we earned from our one-two finish have propelled us to the top of the constructors’ world championship. But we’re particularly encouraged by the fact that, despite our having to ask both our drivers to drive with fuel conservation in mind from early in the race, it was immediately clear that Lewis had the pace to pull away if only he could have passed Mark and he very nearly did on a number of occasions. It was edge-of-the-seat stuff and Jenson was pushing Sebastian pretty hard just a few hundred metres behind.

“After the Red Bulls fell over each other, Lewis and Jenson raced each other pretty hard whilst still driving with fuel conservation in mind, and I imagine their dice made hugely entertaining TV, too.

“On the slow-down lap, Jenson congratulated Lewis on the radio, which is an eloquent illustration of the affection and respect they have for each other.

“Looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, we’re pleased to have closed the performance gap to Red Bull, and are hopeful of bagging another hefty haul of world championship points in Montreal. But I want to stress that I can only say that as a result of the fact that everyone in the entire Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team our drivers, our engineers, our mechanics and every single person who works so hard back at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking [Surrey, UK] is so motivated, so driven and so committed to the cause.”

Alonso convinced that Ferrari will return to the front in Canada

Fernando Alonso believes that Ferrari will be able to put their disappointing weekend in Turkey behind them and fight for victory in Canada.

The Spaniard finished eighth in today’s Turkish Grand Prix, after making considerable ground as a result of his poor qualifying performance. However, Alonso’s race did not run trouble free, when a clash with Renault’s Vitaly Petrov damaged one of the wheel rims on the car and raised concerns over whether or not he would be able to finish the race.

Following this weekend, Alonso now hopes that Ferrari’s planned upgrades for its F10 will be enough to reignite his title bid and ensure that he will able to fight McLaren and Red Bull at the front.

Felipe Massa also echoed his team-mate’s comments after describing his drive to seventh place as difficult, due to stuck behind the Renault of Robert Kubica.

Felipe Massa – 7th:“It was a very boring race for me, from start to finish, but it was also very difficult. I was always stuck behind Kubica and the two Mercedes, who were running at a similar pace to me. Very often I managed to get close, but I never had a real chance of overtaking Robert. I knew that, starting from eighth, it would be tough and so it proved. Now we must stay calm and try and quickly improve the car, starting with the very next race in Canada. Here we lacked performance, especially in the fast corners. The rain? The few drops that fell in the final laps had no affect on my driving.”

Fernando Alonso – 8th:“It was a case of damage limitation in what was a very difficult weekend for us. Our aim in this championship is to fight with McLaren and Red Bull for the podium, definitely not with a Renault for eighth place, with all due respect to my former team. We have to improve our performance: in Valencia we will have an important update on the car, which we hope will put us back to where we should be. I am convinced that right from Canada things will be better, because the track characteristics should better suit our car. The hierarchy in the field can change from race to race, as we saw in Monaco, where we had the potential to fight for victory. At the end, I attacked Petrov and I hope the two points this brought me could turn out to be useful come the end of the year: I am sorry he got a puncture that stopped him finishing in the points, because he drove a good race. Despite everything, we are still in a good position to fight for the title. However, now is the time to react.”

Stefano Domenicali:“This was definitely a very poor weekend for us and it’s a shame we were unable to celebrate our 800th Grand Prix in a worthy manner. We did not have the performance level we expected and we were definitely inferior to the two teams which dominated the Turkish weekend. We are at the level of the second group of drivers; those who were fighting throughout the Grand Prix, all within a few seconds of one another. But we know what an influence qualifying has on the final result and yesterday we struggled even more than usual in this area. This afternoon, we did what we could: Felipe didn’t make any mistakes and Fernando managed to make up a few places with the pit stop and by passing Petrov. Now we must make a step forward to close the performance gap: our engineers are capable and ready, as they have shown so often and I am sure they will be able to do it again, improving the performance of the F10. We are entering the crucial phase of the championship and we have to do everything to tackle it in the best possible shape.”

Chris Dyer:“Given the position of our two cars on the starting grid, this is an acceptable result. What is not however, is our performance level this weekend, given that it definitely did not match our expectations. Felipe was always in traffic and never had a chance to overtake those immediately ahead of him. Fernando drove a good race, making up a few places thanks to the strategy and pulling off a nice passing move on Petrov at the end. When he made contact with the Russian driver’s Renault, he also damaged a wheel rim, but luckily he was able to finish the race and take points that are definitely valuable on a weekend like this.”

Turkish Grand Prix 2010: Post-Race Press Conference

The full transcript of the press conference held in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix.
 
1. Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren), 1h28m47.620s
2. Jenson BUTTON (McLaren), 1h28m50.265s
3. Mark WEBBER (Red Bull), 1h29m11.905s


TV UNILATERALS

Q: Lewis, first win of the season for you. Great scrap. First with Mark, then Sebastian (Vettel) and then Jenson and finally you emerge as the winner. What a race.
Lewis HAMILTON: It was quite an exciting race. We knew that we had good race pace. We knew that we would be able to stay with the Red Bulls. Unfortunately they were so fast through turn eight that it was very difficult to be able to slipstream Mark, otherwise everywhere else I was pretty much on his tail. Then after the pit stop I think I had a problem with the right rear and lost a bit of time in the pit stop. Came out behind Vettel, so it was double trouble trying to get past both of them. Then at the end I am not really sure what happened with these guys. But me and Jenson had a good little battle. He got me on the outside into turn 13 and then fortunately I was able to get him back into turn one and so that was definitely unexpected. But really fair battle with him and a great result for the team. Our second one-two. I think we truly deserved it and I want to dedicate this win to my dad. It’s his 50th birthday tomorrow. Perfect way for him to celebrate.

Q: I am sure he will welcome the present. You had that great duel with Jenson but towards the end you were told by the team to save fuel. How critical was it? How close did you come to not making it to the chequered flag?
LH: I have no idea. We were pushing very hard behind the Red Bulls. Definitely at the end it is a combination of looking after your brakes and looking after your tyres as turn eight is a killer. And of course looking after fuel. We tried to do the best job in that as it was always difficult to understand what they wanted from you and just how much fuel you had to save. But I think we did a good job and it was great that we were able to come across the line to finish.

Q: Jenson, briefly the lead was yours. You got past Lewis for a few turns. Talk us through that. It was a wonderful battle.
Jenson BUTTON: Yeah, I got the run down to turn 12 down on the outside and I had to have a go really. It was down the outside. We were wheel to wheel for about five corners, so it was good fun and then when Lewis got back past at turn one as before I was into fuel save mode as well as we were a little bit worried as maybe the race was a lot quicker than we thought it would be racing with the Red Bulls, so we had to save a little bit of fuel in the end but that got us to the end which is good.

Q: Is second for you a pleasing result given your starting position?
JB: Yeah, I mean the pace was very good in the race. Us four were up front and very close for pretty much the whole race. I don’t know what happened. I am sure we will hear in a minute what happened between Mark and Sebastian. But it opened the door for us and we were one two. The pace of the car was good. As soon as the Red Bulls were out of the way we picked up a bit of pace and we were a couple of tenths in front. It was a good fun race. Also with Michael (Schumacher) on the first lap he got me at the start but I was able to get him into turn 12 and make the pass there. A fun race and nice to be battling up the front where the car should be. I have to say great job to all the team. They have done a fantastic job improving this car. We are so much closer to the Red Bulls now and three weeks ago you wouldn’t have imagined we’d be battling with them, so all credit goes to the McLaren Mercedes team.

Q: Mark, lap 41. What happened? 
Mark WEBBER: Seb had big top speed advantage and went down the inside and we went side-by-side and then it looked like he turned pretty quick right and we made contact. It happened very fast. It is definitely a shame for the team. Not an ideal day, but the McLarens were solid today. It was a good race between all four of us up until then and obviously neither of us wanted to make contact with each other but it can happen sometimes. Unfortunately when we are both at the front it is never ideal but it happened.

Q: Is it hard to take for you given it was your team-mate who you think was responsible and cost you the win today?
MW: There was a long way to go in the race, so it wasn’t a guaranteed victory. I have still got a few points. But it was an interesting few metres on the track between the both of us and in the end it was not the result either of us would have wanted.

Q: Confident that the victory would have been yours given that you had kept the McLarens at bay for 40 of the laps and Sebastian behind you as well?
MW: Yeah. Yeah, I was, yes.

Q: Lewis, you will be looking forward to many more wins this season. What does this do for your momentum now in the championship? Are you back?
LH: I don’t think I was ever gone. I have just been a little unfortunate up until now and I think bit by bit myself and the team have just worked very hard to chip away. Yesterday we qualified second. We knew that was just one step we needed to make. They made it very tough for us, but we put up a good fight. You can see how close it is between the four of us. We are all doing a great job and it is really, really down to the momentum, trying to keep it with the team, myself and Jenson are going to do the best we can to push the team forward to win both those championships.


PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: Lewis, congratulations. It has taken a little while but we were talking on the drivers’ parade about the fascinating balance of power between yourselves and Red Bull, so this must be doubly satisfying because of that.
LH: Absolutely. We have been right on their tails for some time. Obviously they had a big gap in the previous couple of races. But such an achievement for us to really be able to take the battle to them. They had one strength that was particularly good here and we had one strength here. I don’t know how it will pan out for the next races but they have got a great car and we have got a great car.  But, fortunately, me and Jenson were able at least to compete with them and push our hardest to be on their tails. To get our second one-two as I said is fantastic. This is my third one-two with the team in four years, so very, very proud and happy I could do that.

Q: Tell us about the start. Sebastian got ahead of you.
LH: I had a terrible start. I don’t really know what happened. I had a very good reaction but the car just didn’t go anywhere. Too much clutch slip I think. I had to dump the second clutch very, very early and I was just wheelspinning from the line and I couldn’t see who was there. I know Jenson got a better start. I know that Vettel got ahead of me, made it very tricky, but fortunately I got him back and that was the key at that point to be able to battle with the one and only guy in front.

Q: And you seemed to be pushing him hard?
LH: Yeah, I had really good pace. I was able to stay with him no problems except for the exit of turn seven and then through turn eight he was just ridiculously quick. But then I would close him up everywhere else. It was really a case of perhaps him making a mistake then I would be able to be close enough. At one point I think he ran a little bit wide but I wasn’t close enough at the time and he drove very, very well.

Q: What allowed Jenson to get on terms with you on that particular lap?
LH: I was comfortable out in front. I was looking after the tyres. There was a little bit of miscommunications really with the team. They asked me to save fuel but it is just difficult to know how much you have got to save. They set a target for me lap time wise and I tried to stick to that. The target was definitely a bit too slow, so I was slowing down to keep that target and all of a sudden Jenson was right up my tail. There was nothing I could do. He had the slipstream on me up into turn 12. He was able to stay on the outside. He took me but fortunately I was able to get the exit and get the slipstream and it was very fair down into turn one. We had a great battle. We both went steaming in as late as we possibly could. I was understeering and fortunately I was able to come out in front.

Q: I believe your girlfriend was here for the first time this season. Is she your good luck charm, do you think?
LH: I wouldn’t say that really. But I wouldn’t say no to it. Every time she seems to come I seem to win. I think it was Monaco 2008 she came, Hungary I won and Singapore, so she is definitely a little bit lucky for me I think.

Q: Jenson, in the early stages you seemed to be content to watch the three ahead of you. A second behind or a bit more perhaps. Was that the case?
JB: Well, first of all I got a good start. Lewis obviously didn’t, so I was up behind Lewis. I didn’t think Michael was going to come past but on braking he got down the outside as on braking I couldn’t brake where I wanted to. I was able to get him back into turn 12 which was good fun. The three in front had a good pace. I knew I could do that pace, so I just sat back a few car lengths trying to conserve tyres to see if it made any difference. A few times I pushed and tried to catch up and then just dropped back. Just before the stops I kicked in a little bit, caught up to Vettel, he pitted and I didn’t and I stayed out for a couple of laps. I thought I was going to jump him but that wasn’t the case. The pace of our car was very good and it is great to be battling with the Red Bulls. So many times this year we have seen them disappear into the distance. It is great to be fighting with them. I had a little battle with Lewis in the end. We were both told to save fuel but it is always difficult to know how much. When Lewis finally got back past me I was told to keep saving. I think it got a bit critical towards the end of the race as we pushed very hard at the start.

Q: You don’t think that was a ruse to stop you battling?  
JB: I don’t know. For about four or five laps beforehand they were saying you have to save fuel. They didn’t put a lap time on it. They just said you have got to save a bit of fuel. That was quite early in the race I was told to do that, probably about lap 30. I don’t think they expected the pace to be so fast but it was good pace, so that’s why we were told to save fuel I think.

Q: So you are happy with second knowing you had been in first?
JB: Yeah, starting fourth on the grid. I am very happy in the car. I felt that I did a very good job and it was fun to battle at the end with Lewis. We got a one-two, so I think the team should be very happy with our result this weekend. I think we need to say a big thank you to the team. They have brought these improvements to the car this race. Three weeks ago you wouldn’t say we would be able to challenge the Red Bulls, so very happy with what they have brought here. They have pushed very hard and it is working, so that has put a big smile on my face. Got to say a big thanks to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team.

Q: Mark, tell us about the early stage of the race as you seemed to have a lot of pressure from behind at that stage?
MW: Yes, it was a very interesting first stint. I was pretty much expecting it to be honest. The first lap went to plan. In the first few laps a lot of us were getting an idea how turn eight was going to be. Lewis and I settled into a pretty good rhythm. Everything was going well in the first stint. It was clear that Lewis had a bit of an advantage on me. He was quicker in the first stint but I had track position. Then we made the stop and Seb went first, Lewis and I together. Both Lewis and I didn’t have the greatest of pit stops I don’t think. His was probably a bit worse than mine but mine wasn’t the cleanest. Then Jenson went a bit longer, so we had to protect that as well. Then we all came out with the exception that Seb had jumped Lewis. I wasn’t feeling as comfortable on the prime but comfortable enough to keep pressing along. Then Seb had a big top speed run on me on one of the laps. He was down the inside and we were going straight for turn 12. Then he came right pretty fast. We made contact. Not good for the team at all, but this happens. Over 19 races when you have got two guys fighting, it is always on the edge. Disappointing for us as a team. Obviously lost some points with the one car but I was happy I could continue, to be honest, and get some points. These guys did a good job.

Q: Is there any reason why he had a jump on you on that particular lap?
MW: Hmm. Maybe.

Q: Did you come out of the previous corner a bit slower on that lap?
MW: Hmm. You guys need to dig more, somewhere else.

Q: What do you think the reaction’s going to be back with the team?
MW: Oh, disappointment of course. We don’t come here to have contact with each other but it happened today and I felt reasonably comfortable with my side of things, I did my best today.


QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Bob McKenzie The Daily Express) Mark, you might not have seen it because you were busy driving but as Sebastian walked away from the car, on a couple of occasions, he gave the global sign for mental. Do you think you were in any way responsible for what happened?
MW: No.

Q: (Bob McKenzie The Daily Express) What do you think about his idea of the mental stuff?
MW: It’s when the adrenalin’s flowing.

Q: (Bob McKenzie The Daily Express) Was it entirely his fault then?
MW: Oh, if I wasn’t there, there wouldn’t have been contact obviously, but we were there together and it wasn’t the easiest thing to predict what he would do in that split second. Unfortunately there was contact.

Q: (Bob McKenzie The Daily Express) Was he just trying to make room for himself?
MW:
Absolutely, yeah.

Q: (Bob McKenzie The Daily Express) But wrongly.
MW: Aah, pretty quick.

Q: (Tony Dodgins Tony Dodgins Associates) Mark, you managed to keep the F-duct cars behind you for 40 laps. I know you told us we’ve got to dig a bit more but were you slower on that lap that Seb caught you, or not?
MW: I wasn’t too slow, no.

Q: (Ian Parkes The Press Association) Jenson and Lewis, after your little duel on lap 49/50, was there any comment over the team radio from Martin (Whitmarsh) or the guys to cool it, bearing in mind what they’d just seen a few laps earlier with the Red Bulls?
LH:
For me, no, but I’m sure they were biting their nails all the time. But no, Martin didn’t speak to me or my engineer. They just asked me to look after the fuel, but they’d been telling me that for a good ten laps or so before that. I was just asked to keep doing the same thing, but I’m sure it raised a few hairs when we were battling.

Q: (Tom Cary The Daily Telegraph) Lewis, you said were surprised to see Jenson suddenly up behind you. When you were told to conserve fuel, you both were told to conserve fuel, did you take that as an instruction not to overtake? Did you see that at all…?
LH: We don’t have instructions. We’re racing. For me it was just… the communication wasn’t clear for me. When they suggested ‘save this much fuel’ it was not easy to save that much fuel unless I went particularly slowly. I tried to reach that target and in doing so, Jenson was all of a sudden… he just appeared from nowhere and he was up my tail and then there was nothing I could do. I just had to try and defend the best way I could. He did a great move down the outside. Then I was able to fortunately get back on him and again hopefully a fair move down into turn one.

Q: (Juha Päätalo Financial Times Germany) Mark, when you saw Sebastian at your side and a little bit in front of you on the inside, what was your thinking? What did you think would happen?
MW: Umm. I obviously wasn’t totally happy with the situation because obviously he was coming down the inside, and I thought that at that stage I was pretty much not giving the lead up but it was pretty much his corner, well, not his corner but his situation because he was on the inside, but I just stayed on the inside, tight, to make sure that he was still staying on the dirty stuff and then on the run over the crest, obviously after the crest, he started to come back my way and that’s when we touched.

Q: (Edd Straw Autosport) Mark, given what happened, is there an argument for Red Bull having a policy of not racing after the first corner?
MW: I don’t think that would be great. Obviously for everyone, you guys, people watching, it sounds like the McLarens had a good scrap. When, week-in, week-out, you’ve got guys that are pretty even and there are different parts of the race where people are stronger and weaker, yeah, you can say ‘just hold formation to the end’. That would have probably been something which, in hindsight, with 20-20 vision, we would have both been up there, obviously, but in the end it didn’t turn out. If they wanted to swap the positions or there was a fight continuing and the way it turned out wasn’t great.

Q: (Michael Schmidt Auto, Motor und Sport) Mark, when Sebastian appeared on the left hand side of you, did he first lose the car and then contact you or did you first have contact with the tyres and then you lost the car?
MW: Oh, he lost the car when he hit me.

Q: (Michael Schmidt Auto, Motor und Sport) So before he hit you, he lost the car?
MW:
No.

Q: (Michael Schmidt Auto, Motor und Sport) It didn’t come out clearly when Sebastian was there. He said he lost the car because he was on the inside and then he hit you but did you see it?
MW: He was down the inside, I was going towards the corner in the middle of the track and then he came to the right and then obviously when we made contact he obviously had a puncture or something and he lost the car.

Q: (Michael Schmidt Auto, Motor und Sport) And Lewis, you were sitting in the first row, how did you see it?
LH: It was great to watch, it was like an action movie in HD or 3D; it was fantastic. It was right ahead of me. No, I got the best view of it obviously but it’s the last thing you want to see and fortunately Sebastian is safe but I just saw Sebastian go up the inside and Mark held his line. I don’t think he really had much room to move to the right and I don’t think there was necessarily a reason for Sebastian to try to move to the right. I think it was unfortunate for them but all I can say is that it was fortunate for us because we’ve been working hard all year. I think myself and Jenson have deserved to be on the front row for some time and so it was good today.

Q: (Adam Hay-Nicholls – Metro) Mark, did you know if Seb ignored an order to save fuel?
MW: No, wouldn’t have a clue, mate.

Q: (Emre Guler Auto Guide Turkey) In previous years, most drivers were complaining about dust problems at Istanbul Park. Was there a problem this year? Also, I want to learn of your opinions of the Istanbul Park this year.
LH: There was a lot of sand, wasn’t there, a lot of dust. When I was behind cars… I’ve gone through two tear-offs and more. There was quite a lot of debris not debris, mostly stuff from the tyres, but there definitely seemed to be a little bit of dust off-line but I don’t think it caused any problems. You are still able to overtake, it’s not too slippery. And the track is great, clearly it’s one of the best tracks we have because it enables you to overtake. You’ve got two great straights which you really do need in Formula One to capitalise on your gains elsewhere. I personally really like it, I think it’s a nice track to drive, I’ve always enjoyed it here. I think I’ve started second on the grid quite a few times and so it’s fine and nice to finally get a win here.
MW: Just one thing; during the drivers’ parade today, all the drivers were really happy to see quite a few spectators here. We know it’s not easy for the Turkish people to come and attend the race because it’s pretty expensive. It was really good to see the crowd out there trying to enjoy the race. Obviously it wasn’t the best day for myself but I think the race was quite good and I’m really happy that people could come and watch us here in Istanbul.
LH: We want to see more people here now, that’s for sure.
MW: Yeah, cheaper prices, so that they can come and watch.

Q: (Frederic Ferret L’Equipe) Mark, what were your thoughts between getting back on the track and the finishing line? And have you thought of Japan 2007, behind the safety car and Lewis? There was something between Vettel and you behind the safety car in Japan. 
MW: Ah, Fuji. Yeah, that was different, obviously. That was well-documented at the time. We crashed into each other. No, I didn’t think of Fuji at all. I was obviously thinking, during the last part of the race, how unfortunate it was that both of us made contact.

Q: (Tony Dodgins Tony Dodgins Associates) Jenson, the moment that you got past Lewis seemed to coincide with a bit of a shower. Was that a factor?
JB: I don’t know. It didn’t feel like that there was less grip. To me it felt very similar. Lewis got a bad run out of (turn) eight for whatever reason and that’s where the time difference was and I was able to catch him on the back straight into (turn) twelve. But no, I don’t think the weather made any difference really, it wasn’t raining enough. We had a lot of warnings that it was going to rain, but it was never enough really.

Q: (Livio Oricchio O Estado de Sao Paulo) Mark, was your strategy to keep Vettel inside, not to make him brake before and you keep your position, even if you brake late, he would go straight?
MW: It wasn’t my plan to get him on the inside but he got there and I thought OK, I would just stay in the middle, as straight as I can, to make his line as tight as possible into the next corner obviously. And once we got to the braking point, he was obviously in a very strong position, but before we got there he came across to the right and I couldn’t react fast enough, because I wasn’t at all expecting that at that point, and that’s why it happened so fast and there was contact. Of course in Seb’s car, it obviously feels very bad for him that I’ve turned left into him, but I’m pretty confident that there was some drift from his way and then it was a fucking disaster. So you have the line.

Q: (Michael Schmidt Auto, Motor und Sport) Lewis, what happened at the pit stop because Sebastian was able to jump you. Was there any problem?
LH: I don’t know, I have to…
MW: We put fuel in, I think, at the pit stop.
LH: It seemed to be quite a…
MW: My guys weren’t quick and I thought ‘Lewis’s guys are also having a bit of a break.’
LH: I was ready to go, the front tyres got on, the rear tyres they seemed to have a problem with, I  think, the right rear or something and then seemed to be very slow to get on. I did actually move because I anticipated the rear going down but then I had to pull the clutch back in and I saw Mark pull away and so I lost quite a bit. Considering how close I came in right behind Mark, I came out a long way behind him and unfortunately lost ground to Sebastian. But they obviously did a great job with their strategy and it just made it twice as hard to win the race from that point but that’s the way it goes.

Glock and di Grassi finish for Virgin

Virgin team principal John Booth hailed his team’s working mentality as Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi were finally rewarded for their efforts, with their first double finish of the season.

Timo Glock managed to finish the race in eighteenth position. However, the German driver’s race did not run entirely to plan when with five laps remaining he suffered a loss in power steering. As a result, Glock was forced to drive the remainder of the race in fifth gear, but still managed to bring the car home to the delight of his team.

Lucas di Grassi also recorded a respectable drive after overcoming an oil leak, minutes before the start of the race, to finish in nineteenth – albeit three laps down.

Timo Glock – 18th:“It was a tough race for the team today so it was great for us to get both cars to the chequered flag and take some reward for all the hard work that has gone into this weekend. The start was disappointing for me because we stalled on the grid, which enabled Senna to pass me. I was stuck behind him for the first 18 laps and just couldn’t get close enough to overtake him but then I got him in turn 12. From that point on I could go quite a bit quicker and had a better race. We had a good pitstop and on the option tyre the car felt okay and we had reasonable speed. Unfortunately, five laps from the end, I felt a drop in the power steering assist and the team advised me to stay in fifth gear in order to finish the race. But it’s good that we managed to keep the car going and end the day as the best new team.”

Lucas di Grassi – 19th:
“We have had a lot of problems during this weekend, especially regarding the engine, but we achieved our target of getting both cars to the finish and ending the weekend as the best of the new teams. We demonstrated once again that our reliability is improving and what we need to do now is focus on improving the car so that we can be faster and consistently be the best new team at every race.”

John Booth, Team Principal:“To finish the race with both cars and as the best of the new teams is a fantastic reward for the whole team, who’ve worked incredibly hard all weekend to contend with the various issues that cropped up. After the power loss issue with the engine yesterday, the very last thing we needed just an hour before the race was an issue with the engine oil system, which had us taking the car to pieces to get to the engine when we would have been in the final throes of our race countdown. On one side of the garage we were calmly executing the grid sequence with Timo, but it was quite a different story on the other side of the garage where the guys were faced with the seemingly impossible odds to get Lucas’ car together and out into the race. They were an absolute credit to us today.”