Vettel cruises to victory as the rest fight between themselves

2011 Turkish Grand Prix review

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Sebastian Vettel dominated the Turkish Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver led almost every lap while team mate Mark Webber recovered second place to make it a one-two for the team.

Webber fell by Nico Rosberg at the start of the race but the Mercedes driver was powerless to keep drivers behind him early on.

But Webber came under pressure from Alonso who was quicker in the third stint and passed the Red Bull driver. Webber was able to reverse the move later in the race.

Lewis Hamilton had an eventful run to fourth. He tried to repeat his 2010 move of overtaking around a Red Bull the outside of turn four on the first lap – this time it was Webber.

It didn’t work, and he fell behind Alonso and Jenson Button. That began a fierce battle between the two McLaren drivers.

Hamilton twice got past Button using DRS but Button was able to re-pass his team mate on the start/finish line. Then Hamilton’s tyres started to go off and Felipe Massa overtook him.

McLaren quickly fixed the problem for him, however. Hamilton and Massa came into the pits together and McLaren got Hamilton out before the Ferrari.

But his third visit to the pits did not go so smoothly. The mechanic on the right-front wheel couldn’t get the tyre changed and he lost over ten seconds.

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While Hamilton committed to a four-stop strategy, team mate Button tried to get through on three.

Button found himself stuck behind Massa for several laps in the middle of the race. He finally made it past at turn 12, while Massa locked his tyres and had to head for the pits.

Button came out of the pits for the final time on lap 39, aiming to complete the final 19 laps without a stop. He did, but he couldn’t keep Hamilton and Rosberg from dropping him to sixth, and Nick Heidfeld was bearing down on him when the chequered flag came out.

Only two other driver in the top ten finished the race with three stops instead of four. One was Sebastien Buemi, who finished ninth behind the delayed Vitaly Petrov.

The other was Kamui Kobayashi, who recovered from starting last to clinch the final point.

Petrov and Heidfeld had a wheel-banging matched in turn 13 earlier in the race. Petrov also came to blows with Michael Schumacher, who clipped the Renault as the Russian driver passed him on lap two.

It was the prelude to a desperate race for Schumacher, who ended the race 12th behind Massa. The Ferrari driver passed the Mercedes twice, having been delayed by a slow pit stop and ging off on the marbles at turn eight.

Sergio Perez lost his front wing in the mayhem of the first lap but made his way back up to finish 13th.

The racing further down the order was just as frantic as it was at the front, with multiple changes of positions at turn 12 aided by the Drag Reduction System.

Vettel even had to back off as he arrived to lap Perez and Adrian Sutil who were swapping places at turn 12.

Rubens Barrichello ran in the top ten early on but fell to 15th at the end in front of Jaime Alguersuari and Pastor Maldonado.

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Jarno Trulli finished the race 11 seconds behind the other Williams, with Heikki Kovalainen, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi behind.

Paul di Resta was the only driver to drop out during the race with an unspecified car problem, while Timo Glock didn’t make the start with a gearbox problem.

Vettel strengthens his position in the drivers’ championship and Red Bull celebrate a one-two finish two months after their nightmare race at the same venue.

The resurgent Alonso showed the team can still be caught. But they’ll need to do it soon before Vettel runs away with the championship.

2011 Turkish Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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85 comments on “Vettel cruises to victory as the rest fight between themselves”

  1. The New Pope
    8th May 2011, 15:21

    Great race by Vettel, Alonso, and Kobayashi!

  2. 22 classified finishers. Reliability seems to no longer be much of an issue in F1.

    1. The New Pope
      8th May 2011, 15:25

      In a way, we’ve traded the excitement of unreliability for the excitement of DRS, tyres, and KERS. I think I like it better this way.

      1. But high reliability is the curse for Lotus, Virigin and HRT, perhaps including Williams. Only with high attrition can they expect points.

        1. The New Pope
          8th May 2011, 16:07

          Well, then they must work on their pace.

      2. That’s without adding rain yet. Or a safety car.

      3. Not really, F1 cars have enjoyed near-bulletproof reliability for a few years now, it’s certainly not a new feature of 2011.

        1. Not entirely new at all, didn’t say that, but last race’s 23 finishers was a recent high mark, and adding 22 this week might make a 2 race record.
          The mid- and low-pack teams are more reliable than the similar teams in the recent past, it seems to me. What’s added the last couple of years is engines and gearboxes that have to last more than one race. This seems to have taken all cars away from the edge of failure in any given race.

    2. Glock started?

      1. No he didn’t, but that means one retirement plus one DNS.

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          9th May 2011, 1:35

          Answering your own questions now eh Fixy?

  3. I thought for a second there Alonso let Webber near and past on purpose so he could make the DRS overtake one lap from the end and have the last laugh. But he pushed too hard in the fight when Webber made the pass and ruined his chances of coming back.

    Nice race in all. Good to see more competition coming on now. Let’s hope they can all catch up with RBR and Vettel.

  4. I just wish I knew how much of Vettel’s current success is down to him and how much is the car. Excluding the poor strategy choice in China, he’s been utterly dominant so far.

    He seems to have several tenths over his team mate, which would suggest he is clearly performing well, but without another top driver in a similar car to compare against (a Alonso or Hamilton, sorry Webber), it’s difficult to know how much credit to give him.

    1. yes it did look a bit too easy for vettel today, but if think about it , it has been the same for years at ferrari, williams and mclaren

      1. Apparently Webber’s car wasn’t quit right and they made an adjustment in the last pitstop, which wasn’t mentioned on the coverage. After that I think he set the fastest lap of the race.

        1. When will the excuses for Mark Webber finally dwindle? I give it till July…but I dont have high hopes…

          Vettel is just quite simply faster, faster, faster…

          1. Agree Sam. There’s always an excuse with Webber’s car.

            Vettel had an old back end on his car as it was broken in his practice smash and still Webber’s car isn’t as good?

            Vettel is simply the quicker driver.

    2. Its more about the car than the driver. Thats why I hate when people argue about who is the better driver. If you put Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg in that Red Bull They would dominate just like Vettel. Thats why I hate when the commentators praise the drivers so much. They should be kissing up to Adrian Newey and the engineers.

      1. True, but on the flip side Vettel has hardly put a foot wrong. It’s been a very clinical performance so far, even if he hasn’t faced much serious competition.

        I agree that other top drivers in the same situation would also be likely to dominate, but the fact that people are already talking about the championship result being “boring” shows that he is maximising that advantage by not giving anyone else a chance so far.

        1. I completely agree. I am not taking anything away from Vettel. F1 is more about the car.

      2. If you put Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg in that Red Bull They would dominate just like Vettel.

        When will the ifs dry up? Accept that Vettel is a top driver in the best car.

        1. dominate just like Vettel.

          You even quoted the bit where he accepts he is a top driver.

    3. Vettel is reaaaaally fast.
      Having won with a Toro Rosso says it all.
      People here like to underrate him, I just dont know why. Fanatism? :)

  5. Guess you got a typo there Keith

    Vettel strengthens his position in the drivers’ championship and Red Bull celebrate a one-two finish two months after their nightmare race at the same venue.

    that should read 12 months, I gather.

    1. Oh how I’d love if we had a race at Turkey every 2 months! :)

      1. LOL, would be interesting. And we might have a chance of getting some locals to visit some of those!

  6. glad that ferrai is back …but alonso 3 while massa finished 11 ..massa lost his sharpness

    1. Ferrari’s pit crew lost their sharpness when car no 6 pitted, never when car no 5 pitted.

      Remember that Massa had just overtaken Hamilton before his first pitstop, so 4th place should definately have been possible.

  7. The title exactly summed up the race for me. Very nice race in 2011 style, just a shame Vettel is sharing non of the fun and cruises ahead towards the WDC.

  8. i was really disappointed with schuy today, that move/bump into petrov was completely stupid. For an F1 legend to drive like that….well i’m afraid to say i thinks he’s not what he used to be!!!

    1. It was a strange one, on one hand what the hell was Petrov doing attempting that and then Schumi trying to force him out of the way.

      He learned and had a pretty good race afterwards.

    2. I think Shoeface drove one of his better races of his second career. Petrov was just overenthusiastic.

      1. What race were you watching, I’ve never seen so many error from MSC, at least he got them all out of the way in the 1st half of the race, which was terrible, and he knows it, see interview after the race.

        1. I’m not a Schumacher-fan, but to me it looked as if Petrov tried to squeeze his car into a tiny gap, which caused a collision. The other collisions were in the “get out of my way, grandpa” category. I was surprised Schumi was even fighting Massa in the end of the race. Compared to his other colision-races, like Montreal 2010, it was a decent performance.

  9. Good race!
    But the pit crews up and down the pitlane need to be doing a better job. Mclaren and Ferrari especially!

    These guys do 8 pit-stops in a 58-lap race. That is an average of a stop every 10 min. They should be at 100% during each of the stops. sub 4-second stops should be the norm.
    No loose wheel nut should be forgiven!

  10. Well, at least Webber is in of reach now. but unless someone hunt down Vettel’s dominance it would be very boring season when it comes to title battle. Last year there was Webber but now he simply cannot match Vettel. So now we just hope other teams bring out-performing car or Vettel make huge mistake. We need performance order shift.

    1. Adjustment to Webber’s car in the last pitstop which wasn’t mentioned on the coverage, after that he set the fastest lap of the race. So if you consider time lost behind Roseberg and this adjustment then maybe Webber may have been a lot closer to Seb. Still, a great drive by Seb, but I really want to see how he handles himself this year if he has a bad quali, will he make it look as easy then?

      1. Yeah, Seb’s biggest advantage is his quali pace. even Webber is much closer in the race but it’s very hard to catch up when Vettel is ahead. I also wonder he could win behind somebody strong enough.

      2. But isn’t that exactly the difference? Vettel gets the setup right when it counts and then goes on to make best use of it.

        I would love it to see him have some competiton and have to battle for it on track, but he is just ahead of everyone in that car right now.

        1. Another issue not helping Webber in the races aswell is his pitstops. Every pitstop for Webber this year has been slower than for Vettel, on average 3 to 4 seconds over an entire race, surely this needs to be rectified. Then Vettel may have some competition in a race.

    2. We’d probably have been saying the same thing this time last year had Vettel enjoyed better reliability.

      The season is only four races old and there’s a long way to go – almost anything can happen.

  11. As said here, domination without even using a “GimmeWINGS” button.
    Sublime from Vettel.!/fakevettel/status/67224744222666752

    1. I thought he used his DRS for overtaking backmarkers. Bit unfair if you ask me.

  12. Can anyone tell me how Kobyashi and Alonso got up? my timing was wrong so i was wathching the race an hour after it started.

    1. Kobayashi used primes in first stint, so made progress later on when others used options.

      Alonso had good pace, but was helped by Rosberg’s relatively slow pace, and Hamilton getting stuck behind Button and then having a slow pitstop.

  13. Hey Keith, great work with the new lay out for live events (quali, race). However people like me who work on Sundays and unfortunately cannot watch the race at home, rely on video links posted by different f1 fans. Is there a way or maybe a dedicated space / tab where these Links can be posted because once you lose the link in the comments, it’s a real hassle looking for it again. Especially when the Boss is on your back most of the times…

  14. Webber’s results so far: 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd…

    Spain – 1st?

    1. The New Pope
      8th May 2011, 16:08


    2. He’ll be lucky. But I like sequences so maybe luck will be with him.

  15. I thought the race was fantastic except for the winner, Vettel. I have no problem with him winning but I want to see him work for his dinner and not just cruise it! I understand its motorsport but as I and Bernie want is a ‘show’ not just a complete dominant.

    1. I agree, great drive by Seb, but I really want to see how he handles himself this year if he has a bad quali, will he make it look as easy then?

  16. Great race and lots of action up and down the field. Love the KERS and DRS, I just wish they’d give two DRS zones per track instead of only one. Turkey could have used a DRS zone along the starting straight coming out of last corner.

    1. Two DRS-zones? Overtaking was already too easy with one zone.

  17. That’s put Vettel ‘Head and Shoulders’ ahead of the rest in the championship, if you’ll pardon the pun.

  18. The New Pope
    8th May 2011, 17:05

    Somebody let Koby drive a Red Bull for one race. Just one race!

  19. 4 poles and he drops just 7 points out of a possible 100. KERS working perfectly and stops to change tyres just for fun. It’s a hell of a place to be in with just 20% of the season gone!

    Sure, he’ll have some difficult races (much the same that Button did in 09), but the donkey work is getting done whilst the car is still the best one out there.

  20. Buemi just saved his job by finishing in the points, Alonso vs Webber was great racing, and Kobayashi was good as well especially from starting at the back.

  21. Vettel struggles when he is not on pole. He makes amateur mistakes. Can’t wait to see him have to work for it.

    1. Could be waiting some time. I don’t think that he makes any more mistakes than any other driver, and still seems to come out on top if he does. At the moment he’s driving too fast to even need to worry about the second fastest car on the grid. The one being driven by his team mate.

    2. Yes, but he doesn’t qualify like an amateur.

  22. It’s a pity Kobayashi lost a lot of time with a puncture, else we’d have seen him further up the order. I remember him running as high up as fifth at one point.

    Given that his car isn’t anywhere as superior to the rest of the field as Webber’s was, I’d reckon his performance matched the RBR driver’s performance in China.

    1. Kobayashi had a puncture?

      1. Yeah, he got one while dueling Buemi. It wasn’t captured on the live broadcast but he plummeted down the order to 17th at one point after a decent stint running in the top 10.

        1. oh, i wondered how that happened. thanks!

  23. Was it just me or did anyone else see Vettel’s rear open on the back straight as he was lapping d’Ambrosio’s Virgin towards the end of the race. Is that allowed under the rules ?

    1. Yes. He was within one second of the car ahead of him at the DRS line. Doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a car that was ahead of him in the race.

    2. Yep. The lapped cars can also use the DRS to unlap themselves. The system don’t care what lap the cars are on, as long as they physically on track is under one second behind they will be allowed to use it.

  24. message to all the rosberg fans. He may be fast, and a likable guy, but he doesen’t have the luck of champions. And unless he gets a chance like button had in 2009, he won’t ever be world champion.
    The races are fun to watch. They have created a good set of rules to improve the entertainment, but let’s be real, f1 has become a tv show. We need a miracle or vettel is going to be 2011 world champion for second time. We are in a ferrari-schumacher kind of dominance. And i don’t think that’s a good thing.

  25. Thanks for clearing that one up.

  26. And unless he gets a chance like button had in 2009, he won’t ever be world champion.

    Driver wins world championship in fast car! Shock! Horror!

    For most of that season Red Bull had the fastest car (Ironically, from the Turkish GP onwards), and Vettel is doing now what Button did then. Making hay while the sun shines in the fastest car on the track.

    1. Driver wins world championship in fast car! Shock! Horror!

      you forgot to mention that grat drivers put a car on a place that has no business being there.

      1. you forgot to mention that grat drivers put a car on a place that has no business being there.

        Which Vettel did in 2008 (and not just in that one race he won).

  27. I cant remember enjoying a race so much, and not caring
    what the leader was doing.

  28. Astonished
    8th May 2011, 21:54

    Can anybody clarify to me the rule of 107% and Kobayashi racing despite not setting a time in Q1?

    1. Stewards can grant exemptions:

      The 2011 F1 rules changes at-a-glance

    2. If I recall, the other teams can allow a driver to race even if they don’t qualify within the 107%. I’m sure they let him because he no doubt would have been well within it if he had had the chance.

      1. Thanks, Keith. I thought it was at the other teams’ discretion, not the stewards. Guess I got mixed up.

    3. He set faster times in practice, which allowed him to race in regards to the 107% rule.

  29. Adrian Morse
    9th May 2011, 1:10

    It looks like this season we’re set for an epic championship battle … for second place.

    1. May be the way Vettel is driving he is making his job easy for himself on Sunday with a good lap on Saturday.

  30. Great race,one of the aspect of this race is that we have seen many BUMPING in the race just like we see in Karting which is a nice feature.Good race for Red Bull as Webber drove an excellent race along with Vettel. Ferrari were back with Alonso but wasn’t happy with Massa.He was good in the first two stint but later his pace dropped off with some mistakes.Two Renault driver fought hard along with Nico who did a good defensive drive in the start of the race,but Michael again failed as he was trying way too hard.Kobayashi drove brilliantly but to me the surprise on the top 10 was Buemi,I guess everyone was surprise to see him there.

    But a question remain have we see too many ARTIFICIAL overtaking?

  31. I can not believe that no one is talking abot hamilton moving left in the pit lane.

    After Massa was released unsafely, he found himself of lewis left, a bit bedhind. Then as they drove down the pitlane, Lewis drifted left, pushing Massa into the pit area.

    I’m sorry, but this was, not ok, at all. No Massa shouldn’t have been there, yes he could have backed of. But for Lewis to move left rather than right, thereby forcing Massa into the pit area…. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in a long time. How Lewis did not get penalised in some for that I do not understand.

    1. Well Ferrari didn’t get penalised for unsafe pit release, what do you expect? Remember in F1, the big teams always go scott-free unless there is a reason to spice up the championship fight eg., Like Bourdai’s penalty 2008, Schumacher’s 3 race ban in 94, Villenueve’s ‘passing under yellow flag’ penalty for 97.
      Good luck finding someone to side with you in this

  32. I think Vettel drove a fantastic race today don’t get me wrong, but I actually don’t think the difference between Vettel and Webber is as big as people think.

    Yes pshycologically Vettel is on top, and I think you can really start to see that with Webber now singing more and more praise about Vettel and warming upto him.

    But I think the big difference between them and why there seems such a notable gap is the way both of them treat the tyres. Now whether Aidrian Newey has made and developed a car basically for Vettel is upto the conspiracy theorists, but that’s the only reason I can see why Webber is doing so poorly than say compared to last year.

    Ok at the end of the day that’s Webbers problem to deal with and to adobt, but you have to hand it to him, his race craft has come on leaps and bounds over the last year and I can’t think of many ‘number 2’ drivers where they’ve been able to make such combacks through the field.

    It’s usually the best car on the grid with one absolutely dominating driver and the number 2 driver pulling average performances out of the bag.

    Again i think a lot of this is down to Newey producing a phenominal piece of eningeering.

    Webber just can’t seem to make them last (a bit like Hamilton) where as Vettel just can.

    But then again look at the race today Vettel really had no reason to thrash the tyres and was on his front foot from the beggining.

    Webber got caught behind Rosberg and then had to strart to try and claw the back down. Which he did of really heavy pushing. But after 5 laps of pushing the tyres just fell away.

    I suppose what I’m trying to get to is the tyres just don’t really allow for somebody to make up the time on somone ahead if they are of equal pace and at the same point of their stratergies otherwise they are just going to destroy them.

    As commented earlier the hard need to be a bit harder.

    Appologies for the ramblings, it was just thoughts as they came to me!

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