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GP Week : Issue 115
Team-By-Team: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul No points for a second consecutive weekend at Force India, and neither driver never really looked like being in contention either. Sutil started 12th and was consistently running ahead of team-mate di Resta but couldn’t get his three-stop strategy to catapult him into the points. He took the chequered flag in 13th place 20 seconds outside the points, but 1 lap down on the leader. Di Resta had to retire on lap 45 due to a suspected loose wheel nut. He was told by the team to stop the car after seeing something on the data just after his final pitstop. A three-stop strategy worked well for Sebastien Buemi on Sunday as he scored more points for Toro Rosso. The Swiss started a lowly 16th, and had risen to 13th by lap 3. He looked set for a finish well inside the top ten after emerging from his final pitstop in seventh, but Renault’s Nick Heidfeld soon got by, and he lost out to Vitaly Petrov on the final lap to demote him to ninth. Team-mate Alguersuari struggled with tyre degradation in the other STR6 and even had to pit for an unscheduled fourth time three laps from the finish, dropping him to 16th. Kamui Kobayashi put on one of the drives of the day to leap from the last place on the grid to tenth at the chequered flag, making it his third points finish of the year so far. It could have been so much better had he not puncture a tyre while overtaking Buemi on lap 23, costing him ten seconds and a possible seventh place. Team-mate Perez is still searching for those elusive first points after finishing 14th. He made contact with Maldonado on the first lap, requiring an unscheduled stop for a new front wing, putting him to the back of the field. Wheel nut problems stopped Liuzzi showing HRT’s true potential in Istanbul on Sunday, as he had to make a number of precautionary pitstops to ensure the car was safe to race. As a result he finished five laps down in 22nd and last place, with team-mate Karthikeyan in 21st place, almost a full minute behind Virgin’s d’Ambrosio. A major update is planned for the car in Barcelona which the team hopes will catapult them ahead of Virgin. A gearbox problem on Timo Glock’s MVR- 02 before the start of the race left Belgium’s Jerome d’Ambrosio carrying the hopes of the British team on his shoulders, with the young rookie rising to the challenge admirably to comfortably beat both HRTs to the flag. Glock lost fifth gear on the lap to the grid and, despite the best efforts of his crew, he wasn’t able to join the race. D’Ambrosio started from 23rd after copping a five-place penalty in practice but had cleared both HRTs by lap 9. He was the only driver to stop just twice and kept a competitive pace until the finish. Having finished ahead of a Williams car in China, Lotus fell back behind the midfield runners in Turkey and had to be content with beating the Virgins and HRTs in a rather disappointing result. Trulli was the lead driver on this occasion after team-mate Kovalainen was hit down by hydraulics issues, but the Italian still finished over 30 seconds behind Maldonado for 18th. Despite his problems, Kovalainen was over 45 seconds clear of Virgin’s d’Ambrosio. They are hoping more upgrades in Barcelona will push them further into the midfield bunch. F1 TURKEY >> 33