The first one-two of 2011 for Red Bull Racing's F1 squad couldn't come at a more appropriate venue. How things have changed since the last time Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber packed up for the flight home from Istanbul.
The slightly surreal/tense feeling in the garage during yesterday's final two minutes of Qualifying was replicated during the final two laps of the race as each and every man and woman in the team willed the two drivers to the flag.
While Sebastian commanded the race at the front from the lights, Mark had a slightly less direct route to the second step. He lost out to Rosberg at the first corner (but fought off Hamilton) and after dispatching Nico on Lap 5 had Alonso all over his back until the Spaniard passed Webber on Lap 30. From there Mark was always racing the Ferrari driver but, six laps from the end he held his nerve and his line, overtook Alonso and kept a safe distance from his teammate to take second place.
Behind the front three there weren't so much battles as a series of minor skirmishes breaking out. Schumacher tangled with Petrov, Petrov tangled with his teammate, Hamilton and Button came almost wheel-to-wheel and Massa had the eye of the tiger all afternoon, but finished 11th. Special mention should go to Sébastien Buemi from Scuderia Toro Rosso who fought his way up to eighth at the end after starting 16th; which makes our sister team seventh in the Constructors' table.
Get a little team history at the Turkish Grand Prix:
A Significant Team Effort
Once again, however, while it's clear our drivers are mining a rich seam of form, the car, the strategists, the engineers and mechanics and perhaps especially those boys who change the tires eight times a race are all delivering. That's after re-building a car on Friday.
Afterwards as the drivers reviewed the action on track, both they and the team principal, Christian Horner, paid tribute to the wider team. Christian said: “A fantastic team performance today. It was a very busy race with a four-stop strategy, perfect pit work and a great performance by Sebastian to take what was, in the end, a dominant win."
"Mark had a bit more on, dropping a place on the dirty side of the grid at the start, but then his recovery was excellent. All compliments to the team, it certainly exorcises the demons from last year.”
At the circuit Seb recorded a DNF last season; he now leaves five years after his Formula 1 GP debut there as the reigning world champion, the race winner and the leader of the 2011 title race. And Mark? Mr. Webber has increased a place in the pecking order from Australia onwards: fifth in Melbourne, fourth in Sepang, third in Shanghai, and second here...
Roll on Barcelona.
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