While the drama at Red Bull was impossible to miss, McLaren’s one-two win at Istanbul wasn’t a straightforward affair either.
After the race there was talk of “confusion” over the drivers’ instructions to save fuel. Lewis Hamilton spoke of being “surprised” that Jenson Button caught and passed him – before Hamilton reversed the move.
|Jenson Button||Lewis Hamilton|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’26.781 (+0.348)||1’26.433|
|Average race lap||1’31.901 (+0.046)||1’31.856|
McLaren enjoyed far better performance after a poor weekend in Monaco – and Button benefited from a problem-free race after suffering car trouble in the last two rounds.
Had it not been for Michael Schumacher’s spin in qualifying Button might well have taken third off Vettel in qualifying. Unfortunately Button had let Schumacher past before starting his final flying lap.
Schumacher got past Button at the first corner as Button took care not to run into his team mate. Unlike in Spain, this time Button made short work of Schumacher, passing him on the run to turn 12.
He never looked like passing Vettel in the opening stint, nor putting a move on his team mate – until the Red Bulls went out.
After that Button first closed on Hamilton, then passed him on lap 48, only for Hamilton to reverse the move at the next corner. Button then slipped back from his team mate – as the lap time chart above shows he was suddenly around half a second per lap slower.
Bounced back from a lurid spin at turn eight in final practice – partly thanks to him dragging the car back to the pits on at least two punctured tyres.
Hamilton split the Red Bulls in qualifying and put a handy pass on Vettel on the first lap to hold onto his second place at the start.
He fell back behind Vettel due to a slow pit stop and was close behind the two RB6s when they collided on lap 41.
It’s clear from the lap times that both McLarens began – or increased – their efforts to preserve their cars from that moment on. But Hamilton slowed down more than Button as he explained after the race:
I felt confident we could get a potential one-two, and we were trying to look after the tyres and save the fuel to the finish. The [lap time] target they gave me was perhaps a little bit slower than they’d meant, so Jenson was suddenly on my tail. I had a great battle with him, and was happy to get past because it was quite a surprise.
Reading between the lines it seems likely the pair were told to back off, the team wishing to avoid a repeat of what had happened to Red Bull.
But it’s unlikely that having Button pass Hamilton and then be re-taken by him figured in the team’s game plan at all, and they can consider themselves lucky it didn’t end in tears.
2010 Turkish Grand Prix
- Hamilton’s engineer got it wrong over Button pass, Whitmarsh admits
- Technical review: Turkish Grand Prix
- McLaren told Hamilton Button wouldn’t pass him during the Turkish Grand Prix
- Hamilton praises “incredible development”
- ‘It won’t happen again’ – Webber
- Kobayashi: ‘Q3 means more than a point’
- A brilliant race in Turkey shows F1 is on the right track (Making F1 better)
- Horner blames both drivers for crash
- Renault aiming to beat Mercedes
- 2010 Turkish Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review