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

  1. sean said on 7th June 2009, 21:36

    Max was right with hundreds of million’s spent on building new cars the racing is sensational, spectacular overtaking, cars tucked up behind each other late diving into corners, drafting up the straights.Drivers showing there racing prowess, in evenly matched cars this season is turning out to be the most exciting for years just as Max said it would.How could we ever doubt what this man say’s he’s alway’s right, we should follow him blindly to a future of great F1.

  2. HounslowBusGarage said on 7th June 2009, 21:42

    Yes Jugnu, I can’t quite understand how uncompetitive Ferrari were in the race either. I would have thought that Istanbul was their kind of track as well.
    MacLaren know that they have designed a dog; a real dog. Unless thay have a mega-load of improvements for Silvertsone, it might be time to abandon 2009 and aim for 2010. However in the past, teams that produced a rubbish car for the first part of the season have sometimes been able to suddenly replace it with a vastly superior model for the second half. I do hope MacLaren are able to do the same.

    • Mahir C said on 7th June 2009, 22:11

      I remember 2004 where Mclaren’s B spec car was much better. Of course they had testing back then.

      • persempre said on 7th June 2009, 22:44

        Very true, Mahir C.
        Under a cap, of course, major devepoments like B spec cars would become almost impossible.
        A car as dominant as the Brawn could well stay miles in front all season.

  3. Owen G said on 7th June 2009, 22:36

    Granted if it’s not your driver doing all the winning then it might appear boring to some. But I think some people may have been spoilt by the drama of the last couple of seasons.

    It happens fairly regularly where one team, and one driver in particular, is dominant. Check out 2004, 2002, 2001, 1993, 1992 etc.

    I think the main problem this season is that Button is driving fantastically well and Rubens, Webber and Vettel just aren’t good enough. Their cars have the pace but they don’t. Qualy and race lap times suggest that 1 car shouldn’t have won 6 out of 7.

    • Patrickl said on 8th June 2009, 8:50

      hear hear!

    • Senor Paz said on 8th June 2009, 15:05

      Absolutely agree, Button is just driving brilliantly this season and deserves a lot of praise… and Rubens is simply being outclassed.

      However, I’m not sure we can say Webber and Vettel are just not good enough. The Red Bull is strong, but still not quite matching the Brawns. I think Rubens is, really, the only person who could be challenging Jenson, but he’s running out of time.

    • you must be joking.
      The fact that Jenson is not laping the RBR cars just tells that he is not good enough.
      The dominance of the Brawns is so clear that drivers like Schumi would have minutes advantage over the next cars. The race laps being so close tells us that either Jenson is taking it easy or just plain slow. Note that in race conditions Jenson never runs over the bumps or limiters. Because he does nor need to. The car is probably 1-3 seconds faster per lap in race conditions.

  4. Rules changes have amounted to nothing and a combination of that and team orders made Turkey an appropriately named GP. Good on Button for his success, and no one is more deserving of benefiting fully from Honda’s 2008 investment, but it sure makes for a boring 2009 save for Barichello’s antics.

  5. F1Yankee said on 7th June 2009, 23:29

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    huh?! was there a race today?

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • yep, but it wasnt around an oval track and there bwas all type of complicated stuff like different shaped cars with different engines, so you wouldn’t have got it anyway.

  6. John H said on 8th June 2009, 0:09

    I’m getting more bored of Rubens than the racing.

    He stalled it at the start and runied his gearbox.. end of. It doesn’t “happen on the other side of the garage” because Button doesn’t let it.

    Why can’t he just realise he’s too old for F1 these days and bow out gracefully, instead of driving into people (just like Melbourne again) and making a fool of himself.

    • I guess you are not paying attention to reality. Is not uncommon for one driver to get “old parts” that are more prone to break. I do recall Alonso complaining about the same. You would not say Alonso was too old to drive F1 would you?

  7. racingtier said on 8th June 2009, 1:45

    I dont like the headline. Reads like Vettels error was the reason for Buttons win. Button drove with his Brawn GP on his own league. Flawless and classy. Vettel never has had a chance. As the other readeers mentioned the error was inconsequential.

    • Aaron said on 8th June 2009, 7:51

      well one thing with Button winning so many at the start of the season…Bernies winner takes all concept may now be hidden away and never seen again..

      All the fears of what… if a driver wraps up winner takes all system early then what is the point of the rest of the season.

      Well done to Button nice win, Vettel should have turned down his revs more at the end after he exited pits behind his team mate as he is running out of his motor stocks.
      He also should have been more aggressive behind Button…I am sure Button would have been more cautious going into T1 after 1st round of pitstops when vettel caught him had Vettel had a big lunge at him. Might have made that bit of time to stay ahead of MW or even pulled away from Button??…we will never know.

      Well done to webber also, true rock this year.

      Brawn seem to have taken an extra step in performance and RedBull have also pulled away from the rest..so becomes interesting to see if RB can make a gain and either draw along side again or even jump a little bit further.

      • Dougie said on 8th June 2009, 11:14

        well one thing with Button winning so many at the start of the season…Bernies winner takes all concept may now be hidden away and never seen again..

        Yeah, I can see I am going to have to eat my hat, as I was giving quite a few posters on this forum a hard time about them using, as an argument, the unlikely scenario of somebody winning all the first races.

        The proof is in the pudding so to speak :-)

  8. savage said on 8th June 2009, 6:41

    i think a test weekend should be set up to allow teams to correct there problems for the sake of the spectator .
    the race had its moments just not 58 laps worth .

  9. Erico said on 8th June 2009, 6:56

    Ok, Ok, Thanks to Mosleys’ perpetual rule changes we are now back to Schumacher days when winning was the preserve of one and only Schumacher(now Burton). F1 needs stable rules, the only change needed in F1 is for Mosley and co. be shown the door.

    • Patrickl said on 8th June 2009, 8:53

      You would get stable rules under a low budget cap. Is that what you are rooting for then?

      It’s the big budgets that makes the cars go so much faster every year and then necessitate new rules to slow them down again.

  10. skova265 said on 8th June 2009, 7:57

    From 1994 i missed only two races but this is by far the most boring season so far. I think that there will be no more f1 this year except if button falls out in Q1 or mabe Q2

  11. Tom said on 8th June 2009, 9:09

    webber and button for driver’s of the day. no mistakes by either driver.

  12. Chaz said on 8th June 2009, 9:38

    Jenson was great and he diserves all he has achieved. I was gutted for Rubens and Kazuki. Ross is a magician. I was surprised at Adrian as he seemed to be doing so well but then just disappeared to the back of the pack. I was confused by the STR’s performance as they have been fairing much better in general of late, and I hope it is a temporary glitch. Other than being chuffed for Webber and pained for Vettel, the Williams of Nico was great to see up in the points and I hope this is the boost they need. The Toyota’s, BMW’s, McLarens and Ferrari still have much work to do, and watching events unfold should prove interesting. It’s great to see the grid turned on its head…

  13. Too Bad said on 8th June 2009, 9:53

    awfully boring to watch. Even as a schumacher fan, i got bored of watching him win race in race out without any challenge in the 2003-2004 seasons. what more now when i’m not a button fan. i think button is not that great a driver, he is just a disciplined driver, and can work well under pressure. If even rubens the old man can take 3 2nds out of 7 races, it is clear that it is the car doing the winning and not button. I would picture anyone winning races like that with that car. F1 should have a more consistent set of rules, otherwise it would just be like playing a guessing game. Whoever guesses correctly wins all the races. And really, in cases like that you only need 1 race and not 1 season. And please, get those in season testing back on for better improvements on car performances. At the rate this is going, F1 is becoming painful to watch. And no offence to Britons, but i’m getting really tired of listening to the British National Anthem week in week out. Can we hear another country?? Can be any country!!

    • David A said on 8th June 2009, 10:10

      Even as a schumacher fan, i got bored of watching him win race in race out without any challenge in the 2003-2004 seasons

      I’m sure you meant 2002 not 2003 since 2003 had 8 winners, even more than 2008.

    • 159Tom said on 8th June 2009, 13:13

      Better than sitting through two national anthems week in week out…

      I agree there should be testing, maybe limited to a handful of events during the season, all the teams present, and spectator access to paddock and pit lane (during breaks). Maybe a race for all the drivers, not necessarily in F1 cars.

  14. David A said on 8th June 2009, 10:06

    For those of you miserable about Jenson’s dominance, remember how Alonso won 6 races in the first half of 2006, then just 1 race in the second half of the season.

    Alonso had a 25 point lead after 6 wins but the title still went to the final round of the season.

  15. Too Bad said on 8th June 2009, 10:34

    Yes, sorry it was a typo error. i meant 2002 n 2004.

    Thanks for pointing that out David A.

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