Monday, May 31, 2010

The Turkish GP: One turkey shoot

Track temperatures and the anti-clockwise circuit may have gotten into German Sebastian Vettel's head as he tangled heavily with fellow Red Bull teammate Australian Mark Webber in round 7 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey this weekend.

Vettel, who had the momentum of top speed on lap 41 of 58, took the inside line of Webber coming into turn 12 as the latter was leading for most part of the race.

But Vettel's erratic car movement as he went past the braking point made his right rear tire touch momentarily with Webber's, who was defending his line. All it took was a few milliseconds of rubber to rubber high friction contact that punctured the German's tire and retired him out of the race. Webber, meanwhile, had to pit and change a damaged nose cone, eventually losing points and track position to the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who had a few competitive but respectable tangle themselves.

If not for the crash, Webber and Vettel could have finish a 1-2 in Turkey but instead it became a wild turkey shoot for the McLaren boys, whose aerodynamic upgrades clearly had them battling it out for pace and reliability with the frontrunners Red Bull.

Christian Horner, Red Bull's chief will probably have a talk with both drivers before the season moves back to Canada in June 13 after a year in absence on the F1 circuit.

Meanwhile, all is not well in Scuderia Ferrari. Felipe Massa, 3-time Turkish GP winner and double World Champion Fernando Alonso had to settle for 7th and 8th place competing for track positions against midfield team Renault. It was not that Ferrari has gotten slower but the other teams have gotten quicker. The red pair is confident though that once they have upgraded their aero package for Canada the F10 will be upfront with the RB6 and the MP4-25.