Monday, June 8, 2009

Turkish GP: Button Puts His Name In History Book

Sunday 7th June 2009

After his pass on Sebastian Vettel on the opening lap, the Turkish GP may have been a boring race for Jenson Button, but it's one that puts his name in F1's history books.

Button, who overtook Vettel on the exit of Turn 9/10 when the pole-sitter ran wide, strolled to victory at the Istanbul Otodrom, handing him his sixth grand prix win of the season.

And that put Button in F1's history books where he joins the names of Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher in having won six of the first seven races.

Vettel, meanwhile, also lost out to team-mate Mark Webber after opting for a three-stop strategy. But his inability to overtake Button for the lead cost him dearly and he eventually finished 0.7s behind Webber. Jarno Trulli claimed fourth place ahead of Nico Rosberg, whose flying start, saw him leap up from ninth place.

Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica and Timo Glock completed the top eight.

Race Report
As the cars lined up on the sun-drenched grid, the track temperature was up to 49C with an ambient temperature of 32C (up from 28C on Saturday). Though the inside line into Turn 1 had been swept, Jenson Button and Mark Webber were taking no chances and angled their cars towards the outside as they lined up in P2 and P4.

Only Fernando Alonso elected to use the green-walled (option) soft tyres in the opening stint.

When the red lights went out, the potential threat from Rubens Barrichello in P3 evaporated. His Brawn GP bogged down and the rest of the field flooded past him into Turn 1.

Jarno Trulli was very racy off the line and was dicing with Mark Webber throughout the lap. He got past him into Turn 1 but Webber had him back before the end of the opening lap.

Felipe Massa cruised up the inside to get ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen into Turn 1, but lost out to a combative Nico Rosberg later in the lap.

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were also dicing on the opening lap. Alonso got past, but Raikkonen's front wing tagged the back of Alonso's tyre in the final chicane giving him aero problems from Lap 1.

However the major mistake happened at the front. Polesitter Sebastian Vettel exited Turns 9/10 and ran wide past the run-off and briefly onto the grass on the left. He didn't lose too much speed but Button was past in an instant and through into P1.

So the order at the end of a hectic opening lap was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Webber, 4.Trulli, 5.Rosberg, 6.Massa, 7.Alonso, 8.Kubica, 9.Raikkonen, 10.Nakajima, 11.Kovalainen, 12.Barrichello.

Jenson Button set about opening a gap to Vettel at about 0.3 to 0.4 of a second a lap with a series of fastest laps. By Lap 6 he had a 2.9 lead. Meanwhile his team-mate was stuck behind Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren and the Brazilian was showing no patience in his fight back to the front. On Lap 6 he was looking down the inside of the Finn into Turn 9 but thought better of it. On Lap 7 he overtook the McLaren through the final chicane, but then Kovalainen nailed him going back into Turn 1.

On Lap 8 he decided he was going to try and get past without a sufficient gap and barged into the side of Kovalainen in Turn 9. The Brawn came off worst and immediately relegated him from 12th to 17th. Barrichello hadn't stopped there, though, and five laps later he tried to get through an even smaller gap with the Force India of Adrian Sutil. Coming into the final corner he launched his Brawn the way he had done so successfully (and aggressively) in Australia and lost his front wing endplate.

The resulting damage meant that he had to pit ahead of schedule. He had earlier reported that his Brawn GP car had lost 7th gear, a result, Ross Brawn revealed, of over-torquing the clutch at the start. From that point on Rubens was reduced to the role of unhappy spectator in the GP.

By Lap 12 Button had reduced the Fastest Lap to 1:27.799 and opened up a 5.2 gap to Vettel. The Red Bull driver had to stop two laps earlier than Brawn, so Button was always going to have an edge. When Vettel stopped on Lap 15 Button's lead was around six seconds, but the Red Bull was stopped for just 6.2 seconds indicating a three-stop race.

Vettel was followed in by Trulli on Lap 16, Button and Massa on Lap 17 and Webber and Rosberg on Lap 18. All were on two-stoppers. When the stops had panned out on Lap 21, the order was: 1.Button, 2.Vettel, 3.Webber, 4.Nakajima (not stopped), 5.Rosberg - now ahead of Trulli, 6.Trulli, 7.Glock (not stopped), 8.Massa, 9.Heidfeld (not stopped), 10.Kubica, 11.Alonso.

Fuelled much lighter than the Brawn, Vettel closed in quickly and brought Jenson's 3.9 second lead down to 3.7, 3.2, 2.4 and then 1.6 in subsequent laps. To make his strategy work he needed to get past Button quickly, but although Jenson's lead was down to 0.2 by Lap 25, the Red Bull could not follow in the dirty air and had to stay behind till Vettel's second pit-stop on Lap 28.

Team-mate Mark Webber was on a two-stop strategy and could run at the maximum of the car's potential and so Vettel was now in danger of staying behind Webber after his third and final pit-stop. Though Button had been closed down by Vettel, he was still running faster than Mark Webber and had the race totally under control.

Lewis Hamilton had been fuelled up from 16th on the grid and was losing a lot of time in the four-apex Turn 8. As his 32-lap fuel load ran out he was able to set the fastest final sector time which would only be beaten by another KERS car, Kimi Raikkonen, in the closing stages of the race.

Hamilton enjoyed a bit of wheel-to-wheel action with Nelson Piquet after he emerged from his pit-stop (which Piquet won), but neither Mclaren looked like they were going to get anywhere near the points and didn't.

On Lap 35 the positions were: 1.Button, 18.3 seconds in front of... 2.Webber, who had 8.5 seconds on... 3.Vettel who was 5.9 seconds in front of... 4.Rosberg, who was just 3.5 seconds in front of...5.Trulli, who had 6.9 seconds on 6.Massa. 7, Nakajima, 8.Kubica, 9.Alonso, 10.Glock, 11.Raikkonen.

When the second pit-stops wound out between Laps 40 and 43, Rosberg found himself pitting three laps before Trulli and in that time Trulli was able to take back the 4th place he'd lost early on. The three-stopping Vettel didn't need to come in till Lap 48, but he wasn't able to close the gap and get in front of Webber and crossed the line on Lap 49, 3.7 seconds down in third place. And started to charge.

Despite admonishments from the Red Bull engineers to conserve the car and that "Mark is faster", Vettel was able to set the fastest first sector of the race and closed the gap down to 1.2 seconds, proving all that to be just coded talk for "please slow down and don't try and overtake". The gap came down to 1.6 seconds on Lap 55 but on a similar fuel load the only chance of P2 was if Webber made a mistake, which he didn't.

The only chance of a battle in the closing stages was between Robert Kubica in 7th and Timo Glock in 8th. Glock had run as high as 6th before a very late final stop that saw him hang on to a points paying position. Though he was 0.6 behind Kubica on Lap 49, nine laps later he was in exactly the same position.

Jenson Button cooled off his car in the final laps and did some grandiose swerves down the finishing straight towards his 6th win in the first 7 races; matching Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher. Pole position had never been denied a win in Turkey, but Button and Red Bull's own strategy had seen to that.

The Ferrari's promise from Saturday practice faded away in the race and it was more of the familiar Brawn, Red Bull, Toyota dominance. The team to really step up a gear in Istanbul was Williams who would have had two cars in the points had Kazuki Nakajima not endured a disastrous final pit-stop where a front left wheel trim wouldn't go back on, relegating the Japanese driver to 11th place.

With Rubens Barrichello retiring his Brawn on Lap 48 - their first of the season - Button's win gives him a 26 points lead in the driver's championship and finally one that best reflects his driving superiority this season.


01 J. Button Brawn GP 1:26:24.848
02 M. Webber Red Bull + 6.714
03 S. Vettel Red Bull + 7.461
04 J. Trulli Toyota + 27.843
05 N. Rosberg Williams + 31.539
06 F. Massa Ferrari + 39.996
07 R. Kubica BMW + 46.247
08 T. Glock Toyota + 46.959
09 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 50.246
10 F. Alonso Renault + 1:02.420
11 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:04.327
12 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:06.376
13 L. Hamilton McLaren + 1:20.454
14 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 1 laps
15 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
16 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 1 laps
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 1 laps
18 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
Did not finish
19 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 11 laps
20 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 54 laps

Source : Planet F1

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