Vettel’s mistake lets Button in for another win

2009 Turkish Grand Prix review

Vettel leads Button at the start - it didn't last long

Vettel leads Button at the start - it didn't last long

Jenson Button added Istanbul Park to the growing roster of circuits he has conquered this year.

Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel could offer no more than token resistance to the Brawn steamroller, and he also lost out to team mate Mark Webber.

It all goes wrong for Vettel

As was widely expected, Vettel held onto his lead at the first corner with little difficulty. But it only lasted as far as turn nine – where the Red Bull driver slewed off the track, letting Button past.

Making matters worse, Red Bull compounded Vettel’s mistake by failing to deviate from his high-risk three-stop strategy. That allowed his team mate Mark Webber into third.

Vettel’s drama was the highlight of a hectic first lap which packed in more action than the rest of the race combined.

Barrichello loses out at start

Rubens Barrichello bogged down badly, slumping to 13th on the first lap. Jarno Trulli scorched by into third place, but lost that to Webber after running wide at turn seven.

Behind them was Felipe Massa, who had forced Kimi Raikkonen to swerve out of his path on the run to the first corner.

Raikkonen briefly held seventh behind Nico Rosberg, before Fernando Alonso squeezed past the Ferrari. Raikkonen clipped the Renault, damaging the F60’s front wing.

Barrichello now tried to make amends for his poor start by getting stuck into Kovalainen’s McLaren. But he discovered the frustration of battling a car equipped with KERS – whenever he got close enough to pass, Kovalainen jabbed his power boost button and quickly pulled away.

Barrichello was also hamstrung by the lack of a sixth gear – a legacy of his start line drama. Frustration eventually got the better of him and Barrichello launched his car into the side of the McLaren at turn nine. Kovalainen escaped unscathed – Barrichello, spun, lost more time and resumed 17th behind the other McLaren of Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton’s McLaren had 31kg more fuel on board than Kovalainen’s and Barrichello was able to make it past on lap eight. One lap later he took Nelson Piquet Jnr. But his next passing attempt – on Adrian Sutil at the final turn – went all wrong, and Barrichello had to limp back to the pits for a new front wing.

While Barrichello supplied the entertainment very little else was happening. Button had a 4.6s lead over Vettel by lap 11, who in turn was 4.9 ahead of Webber.

Button keeps Vettel at bay

Alonso was the first to pit for a scheduled stop on lap 13, having been the only driver to use the unfavourable soft tyre for the first stint. Two laps later Vettel was for a short stop as he stuck with the three-stop plan, mirroring Lewis Hamilton’s efforts at the same track last year.

But while Hamilton had been able to pass then-leader Felipe Massa on the track, Vettel could not do the same to Button. Whether it’s a trait of the RB5 in turbulent air, or just in Vettel’s nature, he hasn’t been able to pull off passes when he’s needed to this year.

Button never looked like cracking under the pressure, except for a brief moment when he ran wide at the final corner. The pair flashed across the line separated by 0.2s. But even then Vettel stayed his hand, not even so much as feigning an attempt at passing the leader, who would surely have been at pains to avoid a collision had Vettel risked a move.

That not only decided the contest for the lead, but also second place. Unable to clear Button, Vettel had no chance to extend his lead over Webber, and after the final round of stops found himself behind his team mate.

Despite rapidly catching Webber, Vettel was soon instructed by his team not to overtake. Whether he would have been able to is another matter, of course.

First points for Kubica

Trulli lost fourth place to Rosberg at the first round of pit stops – but re-passed the Williams at the second round. Felipe Massa’s run of consecutive Istanbul victories came an end, the Brazilian finishing sixth.

This time a year ago Robert Kubica had just won his first Grand Prix and taken the lead in the drivers’ championship. At Istanbul he finally broke his points duck for 2009, finishing seventh.

Timo Glock rounded off the points finishers having been soundly beaten by Trulli who, at one point, yielded position to his team mate as they ran conflicting strategies.

Raikkonen was ninth after his troubles and Alonso’s gamble of a short first stint on the soft tyre yielded no rewards.

Pit stop ruins Nakajima’s race

Nick Heidfeld was 11th ahead of Kazuki Nakajima, whohad been on course for seventh place before a problem changing the front-left wheel at his final pit stop.

The highest-placed McLaren was Hamilton in 13th, just barely finishing on the lead lap, able to watch the victorious Button crossing the finish line in his mirrors. Hamilton had successfully completed a 26-lap second stint on the soft tyres which allowed him to pass his two-stopping team mate.

Kovalainen was 14th, leading in Sebastien Buemi, Nelson Piquet Jnr, Adrian Sutil and Sebastien Bourdais.

Giancarlo Fisichella at least made it around the first corner without hitting anyone – but he scarcely made it any further, his Force India failing soon afterwards.

Barrichello’s car packed in ten laps from home, the first time a Brawn has failed to go the distant. Afterwards the unhappy Brazilian compared his start-line problems to those he had suffered in Australia, and voiced concerns that such problems don’t seem to happen on the other side of the garage.

Such problems are exactly what he and Vettel need if they are to make any impression on Button’s runaway title lead. Barrichello now trails him by 26 points, and Button will be favourite to win again on home ground in two weeks’ time.

Driver of the day

Who else to pick for driver of the day other than Jenson Button? He pounced on Vettel’s mistake, he didn’t flinch under pressure, and he was relentlessly fast.

Here’s your picks for driver of the day via Twitter:

MarkF1 – My driver of the day is Button again for keeping Vettel behind him when he needed to.
Gazza999RT – Hamilton,best impression of a mobile Chicane seen in years
picknicking – I have to say Nico Rosberg and Jarno trulli!
alboreto – Honourable mention to Piquet for nice driving!
alboreto – has to be Button really doesn’t it. Superb.
KarolMcD – Button, total control.
hannaherika – driver of the day for me would be vettel #F1
f2point4 – You don’t really want to ask me that. ;-) I’m sure Felipe drove as well as he did the years before. It’s the car. :-(
MartinB1884 – JB for me. Composure personified but webber and trulli get honourable mentions.
garethdjones – I think you have to say Jenson Button, but Mark Webber drove a superb race to finish 2nd
Tim_Meakins – Webber close 2nd, but have to say Jenson Button!
recinthecity - Jenson Button!
kayels – Jenson Button :-) and Webber
cardiffblogger - Nobody really stood out for me. Piquet wins the slalom award though with those crazy maneuvers every time camera cut to him
PaulNUK - Button by a mile

Who is your pick for driver of the day? Leave a comment below.

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74 comments on Vettel’s mistake lets Button in for another win

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  1. TommyB said on 7th June 2009, 17:23

    What can I say :( This championship just keeps getting worse. Hope 2010 improves.

  2. Jean said on 7th June 2009, 17:36

    Anyone noticed button’s car was not alligned correctly on the grid?
    it was slightly off, like facing the corner instead of facing the front.
    Think its legal?

    • TommyB said on 7th June 2009, 17:41

      People do it all the time, he won’t get a penalty

    • newdecade said on 7th June 2009, 17:43

      Nah its all good and legal so long as he’s in the grid box, i think webber did the same. Just a way to pounce over to the racing line faster.

  3. TommyB said on 7th June 2009, 17:43

    We should change “Grand Prix Motor Racing” to “Grand Prix Motor Strategy” that’s the way things are now.

    Shame the new rules have only made things worse. I thought taking the grip away would work and it seemed to at the first race but allowing these “double decker diffusers” the racing has seemed to get worse and worse now all the teams are putting them on.

    If they are changing the rules to make better overtaking they should do it properly and not half-*****.

  4. Jean said on 7th June 2009, 17:49

    I see, just never realized it before.

    anyone got more details about Barrichello’s problem at the start?

  5. persempre said on 7th June 2009, 17:53

    Quote from Rubens ” “It was a difficult and immensely frustrating day for me today. We had a problem with the clutch at the start which caused the car to go into anti-stall so I wasn’t able to get off the line. That dropped me back into the pack and to complicate things further, I was hitting the limiter on the straights which meant that I couldn’t overtake and had to take risks.

    “So it was an eventful first half of the race as I tried to compensate for the problems and I had a couple of incidents with other cars. I was prepared to fight my way up the field but the damage caused to the gearbox by the problems at the start began to get worse so the team had to retire my car. It’s difficult to have a day like this when you could see the pace of the car was fantastic but we will bounce back. Silverstone is one of my favourite circuits so I’ll stay positive and look ahead to the British Grand Prix in two weeks time.”

  6. Patrickl said on 7th June 2009, 17:55

    Giancarlo Fisichella at least made it around the first corner without hitting anyone

    Oh come on. Fisichella had one first lap incident. Just like Kubica, Kovalainen, Barrichello, Webber, Webber, Heidfeld, Trulli, Buemi, Bourdais, Sutil and Nakajima (twice). And then I probably forgot some …

    To bad Alonso messed up in Q3. Would have been fun see him start from around P3 and then fight it out.

    Talking about poor strategies. What was up with Piquet’s strategy? He had some fun in his short middle stint I guess, but in the end it cost him a lot of places.

    • Kegs said on 8th June 2009, 23:54

      This is the first time that Fisi has got past the first corner at Turkey though, he has had an accident there every year since F1 started racing there

  7. nomeg1 said on 7th June 2009, 18:00

    What the h… happened to Kimi, who was complaining to have lost pieces of his front wing on the on-board radio. Someone saw sometin’?

    • persempre said on 7th June 2009, 18:35

      He had a coming together with the rear wheel of Alonso & lost part of the outside of the front wing endplate.

  8. wong chin kong said on 7th June 2009, 18:22

    Vettel was not used to a fast driver breathing down on him so closely, lost his concentration, made a mistake and let Button past easily. After that error, there was no chance for Vettel to catch up with Button; a dry track, flawless driving, no mechanical failure meant certain victory for Button. Yawn, same winner all the time, let’s hope next race is not that predictable- who’s to know, the same problem Rubens face can also happen to Button the next time.

  9. another GP bites the boring yet perfectly balanced an tyre saving Brawn dust.
    I understand that people in the UK love having yet another driver crowned champion, but for the other 80% of F1 fans this is already the most boring season of all times.

    09 is dead. Hopefully FIA does not change the rules for next year so that we can see some competition.

    Really boring race…

    • nomeg1 said on 7th June 2009, 18:40

      I don’t know, I am French & happy for Button who deserves it & drives with maestria. What made me laugh is Bourdais when he said that he was carrying an over-load of + 700 Kg (1,500 Pounds)because he was hoping for a SC, ha ! This is an Indy-Car sort of thing not F1. What you guys think about him ?

    • persempre said on 7th June 2009, 18:40

      Some of us in the UK don`t necessarily support on a nationalistic basis, V.
      I don`t begrudge Button & Brawn their glory but after Silverstone the bums on seats may be a little , I guess.
      I`ve heard of people who aren`t even going to bother watching F1 on TV for the rest of the season. Sad, & not what I`d do, but I can see why (Brawn`s dominance, all the politics = total depression & disbelief setting in)

      • TommyB said on 7th June 2009, 20:47

        I am from the UK. I like Jenson he is nice but I don’t rate him although he’s doing amazing this year. I’m a Hamilton and Vettel fan but more importantly I want to see close racing and a fight for the championship. It’s a shame the Brawn Bandwagon are just loving this boring dominance

        • pSynrg said on 10th June 2009, 23:57

          I’m English in England and I am a Lewis Hamilton fan thru and thru.
          I don’t find the season boring at all – an evolving & reordering of the F1 hierarchy – (maybe temporarily maybe not) is something I’m really enjoying. I’m sure it helps that Jenson is British but I’m also thrilled to watch his flawless performance with deserved spoils.
          Watching the old guard often trip over themselves as they try and scrabble together at least an explanation of this seismic shift.
          Watching Rubens genuinely struggle to maintain any consistency as the pressure of keeping up with Jenson eats at him. I hope it doesn’t alter Rubens often chilled and happy demeanour.
          Also, enjoying watching the World Champ slowly coming to terms with his inverse position. Driving a surprisingly poor package extremely well. Monaco grabbing back that beautifully taken slice of luck she presented him last season. Serving a healthy dose of humble pie.

          That’s just a small part of the detail I enjoy in F1, whatever the result and I always love it…

          Keep on Jenson, fantastic performance!

    • Loki said on 8th June 2009, 0:12

      Bull. I’m from the UK and I find it boring. I’m a Ferrari fan, and I found their dominance boring (I didn’t even watch the rest of the season once it became clear they had it in the bag).

      However, the fact is that Brawn (or Honda at the time) made the right decision(s) for this season, and developed a stunner of a car. It is not Brawn’s fault, or Jenson Button’s for that matter, that they are doing so well – this is F1…it is up to the rest to catch up. Just like it was when Ferrari dominated.

      It’s not JB and RB suffered two absolute dismal seasons to have what they have today.

  10. Oliver said on 7th June 2009, 18:25

    Vettel’s mistake was inconsequential. He only deprived himself of second place with that mistake and nothing more.

    • Navs said on 7th June 2009, 18:32

      Don’t you need to back up that assertion with some arguments? (Say laptime comparisons, even anecdotal evidence, …)

      Not saying you are wrong, just that it’s so strange seeing such a bold statement with nothing to back it up!

      • sykes said on 7th June 2009, 19:28

        I really was inconsequential. JB was right on his tail and would have ended up ahead after the first round of pits anyways.

    • Senor Paz said on 8th June 2009, 14:54

      It’s hard to tell.

      Button would probably have overtaken him after the first round of pitstops, but at least Red Bull probably wouldn’t have gambled on short-fuelling him for the second stint… If anything, they would have fuelled him longer, which means he would have at least been able to hold on to second place.

  11. Patrickl said on 7th June 2009, 19:17

    Didn’t Vettel say the same? I think the point is that Button was faster than Vettel already in the first stint (while he was on a higher fuel load). Which means Button would probably have gotten past Vettel after the first pitstop.

  12. Romeo said on 7th June 2009, 19:41

    Yes … I hope Jenson … wins all the races
    and gets the Championship
    He is good man … and he deserves it

    • TommyB said on 7th June 2009, 22:28

      I’m not a Jenson fan but I agree he is a really nice guy.

      Found it funny at the start him talking to DC saying “First of all I find it really hard to talk to you seriously”

  13. jayb said on 7th June 2009, 21:13

    will be supporting jenson and lewis at silverstone but i wish there was a bit more racing at the front this season. i think that we where all a bit spoilt by the last two seasons with all that went on.
    i’m sure it will be normal service next season.

  14. HounslowBusGarage said on 7th June 2009, 21:22

    If Vettel hadn’t made that mistake would a three stop strategy have actually worked? Certainly it would have allowed a short stint on the sub-prime tyres, but three stops is a heck of a penalty.
    I’m still not sure of the wisdom of Red Bull in terms of race strategy. Whadda you think?

  15. JUGNU said on 7th June 2009, 21:25

    Unlike many others’ i didn’t find the race to be boring. It was a fantastic race. As till the last second two redbulls were fighting. At the begining Barrichello’s woes and in between confusion of vettel made it fully interesting race.

    BTW lots to think about for Barrichello and McLaren. Ferrari was also not that competitive how they looked before the race.

    • TommyB said on 7th June 2009, 22:34

      Two Red Bull’s fighting?

      They were told to back off – this is why I don’t like this engine rule! They should fight till the end!!

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