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Turkey, a revelation

india Updated: Jun 01, 2010 23:12 IST
Steve Slater
Steve Slater
Hindustan Times

It is easy to dismiss Lewis Hamilton’s first race victory of the 2010 season as simply good luck. However, as Formula One regularly demonstrates, you make your own luck, good or bad. Ask Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

At the start of the Turkish Grand Prix, we could be forgiven for making three assumptions. As the track basked in baking sun, we could be sure it wouldn’t rain and as it is a modern Herman Tilke-designed track, that there wouldn’t be much overtaking.

Finally, based on their domination of the last two races, the race would be a Red Bull benefit. Superbly, we were proved wrong on every point!

The prime focus post-race will be on the four cars that for 39 of the 58 laps of the Istanbul Otodrom, occupied the top four places. More specifically, on the two Red Bull drivers who contrived to throw away what looked to be a secure 1-2 victory.

As Webber opened a gap of five seconds or more in the early stages of the race, it looked as if the die was cast. A slow pit stop had dropped Hamilton behind Vettel, but any prediction of a Red Bull 1-2 was set to be proved as inaccurate as the ‘will it/won’t it’ weather forecasts as a shower skirted the track.

At the start of Lap 40, it seemed Webber had been instructed by his engineer to reprogram his engine management to save fuel. That in turn meant a slightly slower speed on the back straight to the final sequence of corners.

Behind him, Vettel, who had conserved his fuel running in Webber’s slipstream, seized his chance. As Red Bull team boss Christian Horner later explained, it was probably the young German’s only chance of victory. The rest, as they say, is history. But who was to blame?

Vettel must bear a significant proportion of the blame. Whatever his feelings, at the end of the day, the basic responsibility of any driver overtaking another is to carry out the manoeuvre safely. Vettel certainly didn’t do that!

Adding to Red Bull’s frustration, as Webber rejoined in a distant third after fitting a new nose, we were treated to the sight of the McLarens racing each other, cleanly, on their way to their 1-2 finish.

Catch F1 race commentator Steve Slater on STAR Sports’ coverage of the Formula One.

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