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Hamilton wins Turkish thriller

Hamilton and Button capitalise on Red Bull woes to take McLaren’s second one-two in 2010; Webber and Vettel collide as the Milton Keynes-based team slip up once again this season; Alonso recovers for points as Schumacher has a steady Grand Prix

McLaren swept the board in Turkey as Lewis Hamilton led home Jenson Button for an unexpected one-two.

Although the Woking team had managed to take the fight to Red Bull, they were ultimately helped by Webber and Vettel colliding with each other on circuit.

Whereas the former managed to continue out on circuit to secure the final podium position, the latter was eliminated on the spot – blowing any chance of Red Bull extending its lead in both championships.

Michael Schumacher fended off his team-mate Nico Rosberg for fourth, with Renault’s Robert Kubica in sixth and the two Ferrari drivers seventh and eighth.

Webber gets away well

At the start Webber converted pole into first place at the first corner, with Sebastian Vettel managing to beat Lewis Hamilton off the line in to second.

However, the McLaren driver would soon take the place back with an opportunistic move around the outside of the young German in the first sector.

Hamilton’s team-mate, Jenson Button, also lost a position at the start, to Michael Schumacher. Despite this, Button made use of McLaren’s superior straight line speed to rocket past the Mercedes driver on the run up to turn 12.

Webber, Vettel, Hamilton and Button all traded fastest laps in the opening stages, as the two McLarens and two Red Bulls pulled away from the rest of the pack.

By lap 13 Hamilton had been closer than he had ever been to Webber’s Red Bull. However, the year-old could not find a way past, as the MP4-25’s superior straight line speed was offset by a lack of downforce through Istanbul’s long corners.

Hamilton loses out in pitstop sequence

Vettel would be the first of the front runners to stop at the end of lap 14, switching from the soft to the harder Bridgestone tyre compound.

A lap later and both of the leading cars pitted at the same time, with Webber managing to get out ahead, thanks to his Red Bull mechanics. Hamilton also suffered the misfortunte of losing out to Vettel, as his mechanics had a small problem with the left rear tyre.

With this, on lap 17 it was a Red Bull One-two with Webber leading his younger team-mate and Hamilton shadowing both.

Last year’s winner Button also made his pitstop on lap 17, but did not have enough of a time advantage to move up the order.

Hamilton, looked racy behind Vettel and on lap 18 he made an audacious move on the German driver down at turn 12. However, the McLaren driver ran wide and had to concede the place back.

Threat of rain takes a back seat as Red Bull drivers collide

The most surprising moment race came around lap 20 when a bulging dark cloud moved overhead the circuit. Prior to this, there had been no inclination that the race would be interupted by rain, but the team’s weather systems soon lit up, with a light shower expected. Consequently, any sign of rain would not appear until around twenty laps later, when he various onboard cameras began to pick up spots of moisture.

However, before the weather could play its part drama struck when on lap 41 Vettel, who had been closing down on his team-mate for a number of laps, tried to slip steam his team-mate into turn 12. However, as the German emerged in front he moved to squeeze Webber to the outside, only for his rear tyre to touch Webber’s and send both RB6’s flying off the circuit. Whereas, Webber was able to continue, Vettel was eliminated on the spot – handing McLaren a one-two.

Ultimately, both drivers blamed each other for the incident with Vettel laying the blame squarely at his team-mate.

“Obviously, I think if you look at the pictures it was clear I had the inside,” Vettel is quoted as saying by Autosport. “I went on the inside, I was ahead and just going down to focus on the braking point and honestly, you can see we touched and he touched my right rear wheel and I went off.”

Webber on the other hand seen things differently, stating that: “Seb had good a top speed advantage and he went down the inside. We were side by side and then looks kike he turned pretty quickly to the right and we made contact,”

“It definitely happened fast. It’s a shame for the team, but not an ideal day. The McLarens were solid today. It was good race between all four of us up until then.

“Neither want to make contact but it can happen sometimes when both are in front. It is never ideal but it happened.”

“There was a long way to go in the race so it was not a guaranteed victory. I still got a few points, but it was an interesting few metres on track between both of us. It wasn’t the result neither of us wanted.”

Two laps later and Webber’s challenge was well and truely over, when he was forced to pit for a new front wing.

Then came another dramatic moment on lap 48 when Jenson Button attempted to overtake his team-mate for the lead. The previous two world champions emerged on to the start/finish straight side-by-side, but Hamilton held his own and maintained his lead down into turn one.

From then on both McLaren drivers held station, as they tried to nurse their cars home – with a growing concern that they would not have enough fuel to make the end of the race.

Despite this, McLaren’s problems did not come to fruition, as Lewis Hamilton marched to his first victory in ten races, with Jenson Button following home for the team’s second one-two of the season.

Afterwards Hamilton reflected on his achievement and highlighted how important is that McLaren now build on its current momentum.

“Red Bull made it tough for us and we put up a good fight,” he said. “You can see how close it is between the four of us. It’s down to momentum, and we will do the best we can to win both championships.

“We have been ragging their tails for some time. It’s such an achievement for us, to really be able to take the battle to them. They had one strength that was particularly good here, we had a strength here, and we didn’t know how it would pan here.

“Me and Jenson were able to compete with them and push our hardest to be on their tails. To get our second 1-2 is fantastic.”

Button also was happy that McLaren had been able to take the fight to Red Bull during the race.

“The pace of our car was very good and it was great to be battling with the Red Bulls,” said Button, whose second place has reignited his title bid.

“So many times we have seen them disappear into the distance.

“We were both told to save fuel but it’s always difficult to know how much and when Lewis got back past me I was told to keep saving and I think it got a bit critical towards the end.

“It was fun to battle at the end with Lewis. We got a 1-2 so the team should be happy with the result this weekend. A few weeks ago you could say we might not be able to challenge the Red Bulls, so we have to say thanks to the team.”

Other notable mentions

Michael Schumacher once again got the upper hand on his team-mate Nico Rosberg to take a credible fourth place finish in his comeback season.

Fernando Alonso failed to make proper headway throughout the order, but was able to leave Turkey with eighth place and three valuable points. However, the Spaniard’s race did not go smoothly when on lap 54 he banged wheels with Renault’s Vitaly Petrov for position. Consequently this resulted in the Russian driver sustaining damage and dropping down the order ruining a good day’s drive from the 25-year-old.

Ahead of Alonso and Petrov Rosberg led Robert Kubica (Renault) and former three-time winner Felipe Massa (Ferrari).

As for the new teams, Lotus failed to tranfer its qualifying pace into a strong race showing, as both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen were forced to retire. Both Hispania cars also failed to make the finish – leaving Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi (who before the start suffered an oil leak) to take the chequered flag for Virgin Racing.

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

Round 7 of 19: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul Park

(58 Laps)

Pos  Driver        Team              Time
1.   Hamilton      McLaren           1h28:47.620
2.   Button        McLaren           +     2.645
3.   Webber        Red Bull          +    24.285 
4.   Schumacher    Mercedes          +    31.110
5.   Rosberg       Mercedes          +    32.266
6.   Kubica        Renault           +    32.824
7.   Massa         Ferrari           +    36.635
8.   Alonso        Ferrari           +    46.544 
9.   Sutil         Force India       +    49.029
10.  Kobayashi     Sauber            +  1:05.650
11.  De la Rosa    Sauber            +  1:05.944
12.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso        +  1:07.800
13.  Liuzzi        Force India       +     1 lap
14.  Barrichello   Williams          +     1 lap
15.  Petrov        Renault           +     1 lap
16.  Buemi         Toro Rosso        +     1 lap
17.  Hulkenberg    Williams          +     1 lap
18.  Glock         Virgin            +    2 laps
19.  Di Grassi     Virgin            +    3 laps
Ret. Chandhok      HRT-Cosworth        On Lap 53
Ret. Senna         HRT-Cosworth        On Lap 47
Ret. Vettel        Red Bull-Renault    On Lap 40
Ret. Kovalainen    Lotus-Cosworth      On Lap 34
Ret. Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth      On Lap 33

Fastest lap: Petrov, 1:29.165

World Championship standings after 7 rounds:                

1.   Webber        93        
2.   Button        88        
3.   Hamilton      84        
4.   Alonso        79        
5.   Vettel        78        
6.   Massa         67        
7.   Kubica        67        
8.   Rosberg       66        
9.   Schumacher    34        
10.  Sutil         22       
11.  Liuzzi        10       
12.  Barrichello    7       
13.  Petrov         6       
14.  Alguersuari    3       
15.  Hulkenberg     1       
16.  Buemi          1       
17.  Kobayashi      1   
1.  McLaren-Mercedes          172
2.  Red Bull-Renault          171
3.  Ferrari                   146
4.  Mercedes                  100
5.  Renault                    73
6.  Force India-Mercedes       32
7.  Williams-Cosworth           8
8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          4
9.  Sauber-Ferrari              1

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