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GP Week : Issue 49
>>F1TURKEY d Prix, Istanbul A tricky start to the weekend for Toro Rosso saw the drivers at the bottom of the timesheets despite feeling that they weren’t too far off the pace. Unfortunately for both of the Sebs, they actually were. Qualifying was a dire reflection of their position, as Bourdais could only set the slowest time of the session and Buemi ended up 18th. The car lacked grip and pace. All in all, it was This was supposed to be the weekend that red Bull took the battle to Brawn, the event at which Newey’s RB5 was a match for the BGP01. It wasn’t to be. Webber and Vettel were both top 10 runners in practice, and sensed that the car was dialled into the track. Qualifying proved their hunches to be correct, as Webber took fourth and Vettel , light on fuel, stormed to pole. New aero parts for the team gave Williams hope of competing for genuine points in Turkey and the pace of both drivers in practice gave every suggestion that it could be on the cards. Both drivers seemed happy, a rarity on a day when slippery track conditions had caused most to complain. The changing conditions into Saturday meant tyre choice for qualifying was The main talk about Force India was their split with FOTA, but on track there was the small matter of a race to be run. With Toro Rosso having a very hard time of it, Force India were at least not forced to occupy the bottom rung of the ladder, but neither driver felt confident of anything spectacular. Fisichella was as unspectacular, as usual, in qualifying, taking 19th. His race went Six wins in their first seven races means that Brawn now has five times the points of Ferrari. Take that! A tough practice day for everyone left Brawn scratching their heads on Friday, but come qualifying it was Button who shone the brightest taking second to Barrichellos’ third behind the rampant Vettel. In the race, Barrichello had a pitiful a nightmare. Bourdais opted for a one-stopper in the hope a Safety Car would help them out, but it never came and he finished 18th and plum last. Buemi, however, fought up to 15thagain outperforming his more experienced team-mate. The team needs pace, and it needs upgrades, something which Buemi was only too keen to point out. Given their expectations, the race was therefore a bit of a letdown. Vettel made a silly mistake on the first lap to let Button into the lead and from then on there was no catching him. A three-stop strategy ultimately dropped Vettel to third, but Webber had another excellent race to take second, but only after the team had ordered Vettel not to try and pass him ... in so many words. always going to be tough, and Nakajima struggled in Q2 to line up in 12th. Rosberg was ninth and could smell points. Come the race Nakajima put in one of the best performances of his F1 career to date. A problem at his second stop robbed him of what could have been a top five finish. He was gutted. Rosberg did take fifth, and showed the promise the car upgrades have provided the team. the same way and he was the first driver to retire. Sutil continued to shower himself in glory with a quali run to Q2 and a bold race. Contact with Barrichello under the German’s staunch defence of position was fun to watch, and battling with the McLarens showed just how close this season is turning out to be. He deserved more than 17th at the finish. afternoon. He looked more like a van driver than an F1 racer at times and showered himself in everything but glory. Button was imperious. His car was, he said, absolutely perfect. With a 26 point lead going into his home race, Button has every reason to feel confident. At this rate, he could challenge Michael Schumacher’s win record of 12 from the first 13 races … you wouldn’t be against it. 35