Turkish Grand Prix 2011 – Race Report
The Turkish GP was even slightly better than the Chinese GP even though Vettel drove the whole race unchallenged. Despite that many middle-lot drivers seemed to be driving for points at the middle part of the race, in the end the high amount of pit-stops from all teams normalized the results, with only two names rising to points from outside the Top-10 qualifiers.
As stated before Sebastian Vettel led the race unchallenged though not from start-to-finish. Though Mark Webber had to yield at the beginning he overtook Alonso in the very final laps to finish second. Fernando Alonso rose to the podium for the first time this season.
Lewis Hamilton also recovered to finish fourth. Even though he and his team-mate Jenson Button danced around a lot on the over-takes, Button eventually finished sixth. Nico Rosberg lead the race momentarily when Vettel was doing his first pit-stop. He could have had a chance to be at the podium but in the end had to settle for fifth place. Even though the Renault drivers were at odds on the track they both finished on points. Heidfeld just ahead of Petrov in places seventh and eighth.
The last two drivers truly earned their points through solid driving. Sebastian Buemi recovered from a botched qualifying by finishing ninth and Kamui Kobayashi, who started from the very back due to his car stopping in Q1, finished tenth – both drivers challenging Michael Schumacher one-on-one.
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Felipe Massa could have done so much better, but botched up pitstops dropped him back until he was finally out of the point-scoring range. Massa was still doing well in the middle-part of the race so his 11th place was a miserable finish for Ferrari. Hopefully he’ll have better luck in Spain.
Drop-out count: 2
Only two retirements and one happened even before the race started when Timo Glock’s Virgin was unable to leave the pit lane at all. Paul di Resta‘s Force India gave up close to the end of the race.
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Michael Schumacher had a lousy time in Turkey, getting overtaken by middle-tier drivers all the way through the last leg of the race. His poor performance is partially explained by Vitaly Petrov’s aggressive over-take which caused him to pit early to replace a broken front wing. Still, he should have been able to give Buemi and Kobayashi a run for their money.
Force India gave a very mediocre performance with Sutil dropping from 12th on the start to 13th in the finish and Di Resta having to retire. Jaime Alguersuari gave another puzzlingly weak performance (16th) on his Toro Rosso, especially in light of the fact that his team-mate managed to rise to points. Sergio Perez also didn’t soar to new heights but this was probably due to the fact that he too broke his front wing in the first few laps of the race.
Once again Williams gave an abysmally bad showing. With Barrichello finishing 11th in Q2 and even tangling with Schumacher during the race, finishing 15th was a major disappointment. The same goes for his new-comer team-mate Pastor Maldonado who dropped down three positions and finished 17th just barely ahead of the new teams.
The new teams didn’t have much to celebrate about. Jarno Trulli was actually able to finish ahead of Heikki Kovalainen albeit, Heikki was passed by Vettel a second time as a result of an extra pit stop, whilst Trulli wasn’t. Jerome D’Ambrosio at least kept his Virgin ahead of the HRT drivers, finishing on the same lap as Kovalainen, one lap ahead of Karthikeyan and three laps ahead of Liuzzi who finished last.