Vettel runs rampant as Ferrari fight back

Sebastian Vettel has opened the European season with a dominating drive in Turkey to claim his third victory from four races.
The reigning world champion beat the field to the flag by almost nine seconds to extend his lead over Lewis Hamilton in the championship to 34 points. Team-mate Mark Webber came home second and lies a further four points behind in third place.
For the first time this season Ferrari overshadowed traditional rivals McLaren to stake their claim as ‘best of the rest’ as Feranndo Alonso dragged his car to the final podium place.
The McLarens were led by Hamilton, coming home in fourth and sixth – split by the refreshingly competitive Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
The top ten was completed with impressive drives from Sebastien Buemi who finished seventh after starting from P16, and Kamui Kobayashi who scored a single point after starting from the back of the grid.
Though Merecedes’ predictions of a form improvement allowed them to race alongside the frontrunners for most of the race, it was Ferrari’s improvement that most impressed. Fernando Alonso managed to apply pressure to Webber for the distance, keeping him from second place up until lap 52.
The team from Maranello discovered this week that a fault in their wind tunnel was the cause of the discrepancy between factory aerodynamic results and those on track. Though they highlighted Canada as the round they expect to be back at the front of the grid, the new parts fitted to their car in Turkey proved that they were on the right track.
‘This has to be only the first step to our recovery,’ said Alonso. ‘I’m very, very happy. This is only the first step. First we need to be on the podium, which we did today, and then we need to move forward.’
‘There is a lot more to come I am sure.’
Red Bull team Principal Christian Horner agreed with Alonso’s sentiment.
‘Ferrari are back and they pushed us very hard,’ he said. ‘They are very soft on their tyres and they make them go a long way.’
‘I think things are going to change, there is a long way to go in this championship and it is important that we capitalise on days like today.’
Vettel looked in control throughout the race, building up a strong 23-second lead before his fourth pit stop for fresh tyres. Red Bull were clearly keen to ensure that there would be no repeat of their strategy error in China three weeks ago.
Whilst Vettel kept cool in the first Red Bull, Mark Webber found himself under pressure off the line from Nico Rosberg, who briefly took second place from the Australian. Hamilton tried to do likewise, but ran wide into the second corner before falling to sixth place.
Webber took back his starting place with the aid of his DRS, which featured prominently throughout the race. The on-average 12km/h gain gifted by the aerodynamic advice meant that overtaking was often completed well before the braking zone, leaving the car in front defenceless.
The first pit stop window was opened by Webber, who made it plain that his side of the garage was aiming for a four-stop race. He was joined by Alonso, Hamilton and Rosberg, whose team this week fancied a fight with the front runners. Vettel would pit one lap later as it became evident that McLaren was running a strategy split, leaving Button to rue his three-stop race that would ultimately cost him a position to Rosberg.
‘We should have stayed out for longer. The last stint was impossible, doing so many laps on the hard tyre,’ said the disappointed 2009 champion.
‘You try to get the best out of the car but you are not racing anyone around you because you are a sitting duck.’
Further down the field, former world champion Michael Schumacher managed only P11, despite making it through to Q3 for the first time this season.
A collision with Vitaly Petrov on lap two – an incident for which Schumacher accepts the blame – had him pit for a new front wing and re-join the race from the back. He clawed his way back up to 12th, but never looked to have the pace to challenge for points.
Now into the second year of his thus-far uninspiring return to the sport after a three-year absence, Schumacher now admits that ‘the big joy is not there right now. The claim has sparked fresh speculation as to whether he will see out his three-year contract with Mercedes.
Schumacher scored a little over half the points accrued by team-mate Rosberg last season, and currently sits 11th in the drivers’ championship standings with just six points to his name – 14 behind Rosberg and 87 behind Vettel.
 
Turkish Grand Prix Results:

Pos.
Driver
Team
Time
Laps
Grid
Pts

1
VETTEL
Red Bull
1:30:17.558
58
1
25

2
WEBBER
Red Bull
+8.8s
58
2
18

3
ALONSO
Ferrari
+10.0s
58
5
15

4
HAMILTON
McLaren
+40.2s
58
4
12

5
RODBERG
Mercedes
+47.5s
58
3
10

6
BUTTON
McLaren
+59.4s
58
6
8

7
HEIDFELD
Renault
+60.8s
58
9
6

8
PETROV
Reanult
+68.1s
58
7
4

9
BUEMI
Toro Rosso
+69.3s
58
16
2

10
KOBAYASHI
Sauber
+78.0s
58
24
1

11
MASSA
Ferrari
+79.8s
58
10
 

12
SCHUMACHER
Mercedes
+85.4s
58
8
 

13
SUTIL
Force India
+1 Laps
57
12
 

14
PEREZ
Sauber
+1 Laps
57
15
 

15
BARRICHELLO
Williams
+1 Laps
57
11
 

16
ALGUERSUARI
Toro Rosso
+1 Laps
57
17
 

17
MALDONADO
Williams
+1 Laps
57
14
 

18
TRULLI
Lotus
+1 Laps
57
19
 

19
KOVALINEN
Lotus
+2 Laps
56
18
 

20
D’AMBROSIO
Virgin
+2 Laps
56
23
 

21
KARTHIKEYAN
HRT
+3 Laps
55
22
 

22
LIUZZI
HRT
+5 Laps
53
20
 

DNF
DI RESTA
Force India
Retired
44
13
 

DNS
GLOCK
Virgin
Gearbox
0
21
 



Drivers’ Championsip standings after four rounds:

Pos
Driver
Country
Team
Pts
Dif.

1
VETTEL
Germany
Red Bull
93

2
HAMILTON
Great Britain
McLaren
59
+34

3
WEBBER
Australia
Red Bull
55
+38

4
BUTTON
Great Britain
McLaren
46
+47

5
ALONSO
Spain
Ferrari
41
+42

6
MASSA
Brazil
Ferrari
24
+69

7
HEIDFELD
Germany
Renault
21
+72

8
PETROV
Russia
Renault
21
+72

9
ROSBERG
Germany
Mercedes
20
+73

10
KOBAYASHI
Japan
Sauber
8
+85

11
SCHUMACHER
Germany
Mercedes
6
+87

12
BUEMI
Switzerland
Toro Rosso
6
+87

13
SUTIL
Germany
Force India
2
+91

14
DI RESTA
Great Britain
Force India
2
+91



Constructors’ Championsip standings after four rounds:

Pos
Driver
Country
Pts
Dif.

1
RED BULL
Austria
148

2
MCLAREN
Great Britain
105
+43

3
FERRARI
Italy
65
+83

4
RENAULT
Great Britain
42
+106

5
MERCEDES
Germany
26
+122

6
SAUBER
Switzerland
8
+140

7
TORO ROSSO
Italy
6
+142

8
FORCE INDIA
India
4
+144

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