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GP Week : Issue 115
Team-By-Team: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul McLaren’s Grand Prix was a tale of two strategies, and a botched pitstop for Hamilton which ultimately made little difference to the result. While Hamilton was transferred to a four- stop strategy from the moment he made his first pitstop on lap 9, Button was able to make his tyres last much longer and stayed with the three-stop originally planned. Hamilton then lost 15 seconds when his right-front wheel nut cross-threaded, but he was still able to recover to fourth, 30 seconds behind Alonso. Button struggled with a long final stint and dropped behind Rosberg to finish sixth. Vettel’s crash on Friday got Red Bull’s weekend off to a disastrous start, but everything was rosy once again come Sunday with the team’s first 1-2 finish of the year. Vettel drove faultlessly and was able to make a precautionary pitstop at the end to cover Webber and Alonso’s four-stop strategy, before taking the flag almost 9 seconds clear. Webber had to battle hard for second after falling behind Alonso mid-way through the race, but made up the gap and passed him on a fresh set of hard tyres in the final ten laps. Renault scored their first double points finish of the year with seventh and eighth places, after a number of wheel-to-wheel altercations between Heidfeld and Petrov. Heidfeld eventually won out and finished in seventh, having just run out of laps while chasing down Button for sixth. He spent much of the race stuck in traffic, potentially costing him a top-five finish. Petrov secured eighth after passing Buemi on the final lap, but someone may have a word in his ear after almost pushing Heidfeld off the road when the pair were battling for position during the race. Mercedes continued to struggle with race pace, despite showing promising form in qualifying on Saturday. With Rosberg starting third a podium seemed within reach, but within the first five laps it became apparent that the W02 was not on the same level as the Red Bull and the Ferrari. Rosberg’s four-stop strategy allowed him to pass Button in the closing laps for fifth, but the 37-second gap to the podium will be a worry. Schumacher had a torrid race which was begun when he hit Petrov on the second lap, before three-stopping on his way to 12th. Williams again failed to score points after Barrichello and Maldonado brought their FW33s home in 15th and 17th positions respectively. Barrichello looked strong in the first stint, but wasn’t able to keep pace afterwards, with an intermittent KERS failure not helping matters. Having run as high as 9th early on, he lost places to Sutil and Perez in the closing laps to drop him to 15th. Maldonado was struggling with oversteer and copped a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Those Barcelona upgrades will be warmly welcomed by the team in a fortnight’s time. Fernando Alonso declared Ferrari could once again “enjoy racing” after scoring the Scuderia’s first podium of 2011 on Sunday. He had a race-long battle with Webber but eventually lost out when Webber pitted for a new set of tyres at the end of the race. While he was delighted with the result, team- mate Massa was very downbeat after failing to score points in 11th. Of his four stops, three had problems, and he lost some ten seconds to leader Vettel in the pitlane alone during the race. Despite challenging Kobayashi for the final point, he stayed 11th in the closing laps. 32