Button extends championship lead with victory in Istanbul

The Button and Brawn domination in Formula One continues with the Englishman taking his latest victory at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Button’s triumph matches the record of Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher in winning six races out of seven races and it is remarkable that his lead in the drivers’ standing has extended to a mammoth 26 points.

His closest title challenger Rubens Barrichello suffered a horrendous afternoon that resulted in his first retirement of the year. The Brazilian had a clutch problem at the start in which he stuttered off the grid and by the time he crossed the start/finish line a lap later, Rubens had tumbled back to an unlucky 13th position.

Barrichello tried to make amends after a poor start, but unfortunately in doing so, the Brazilian made contact with first Heikki Kovalainen – which resulted in a spin – and later with Adrian Sutil – damaging his front wing in the process. Eleven laps from the chequered flag, Rubens returned to the pits to retire with a gearbox problem. It was a frustrating end for the Brawn GP driver as his team-mate went on to record his sixth race win of the season.

As for Sebastian Vettel, who started from pole position, to finish in third was a major disappointment for the Red Bull Racing driver. The young German lost the lead to Button on the opening lap after making a mistake exiting Turn 9, running wide and losing momentum.

This gave the opportunity to his championship rival, who took the lead and never look back.

Despite losing the lead on the first lap, Vettel came right back at Button after the first round of pit stops. Running on a three-stop strategy and benefitting with a lighter fuel load, the Red Bull was now only a few seconds behind the Brawn.

But there was no way past and after 13 laps of trying to get by Button, Vettel was forced to make his second pit stop, dropping him down to third behind Mark Webber (who was running a two-stop strategy) and out of contention for the race win.

Without the pressure of the Red Bull looming in his mirrors, Button was able to relax and rolled off the remaining laps to seal another victory. Behind the race-winning Brawn GP, it was a Red Bull Racing formation finish with Webber ahead of Vettel.

Jarno Trulli took a well respectable fourth for Toyota despite losing that track position to Nico Rosberg’s Williams at the first round of pit stops. The Italian reclaimed it back from the German in the second pit stop sequences, although a fifth place finish was still a good result for Rosberg given his frustrations in the previous couple of races.

As for Ferrari, in particular Felipe Massa who won this event three times, this latest result was a major disappointment. The Brazilian finished a distant sixth while his Scuderia team-mate Kimi Raikkonen lost significant ground on lap one – damaging his front wing against the back of Fernando Alonso’s Renault – and ended up just out of the points with ninth.

BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica has finally scored some championship points this season by beating the long-stopping Toyota of Timo Glock to seventh.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso struggled with pace in his Renault and could only managed a tenth place finish despite starting the race in eighth.

And what about McLaren? Well, after setting some promising lap times in opening practice on Friday, the race on Sunday reveal the silver cars simply lack downforce with the world champion Lewis Hamilton coming home in P13 (running one stop) with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen doing no better with P14 (on a two-stop strategy).

The Formula One World Championship now heads to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks’ time and you can expect a hero’s welcome from the passionate crowd. This will be the last race at the former RAF airfield and Jenson Button will be seeking a home win as he moves ever so closer towards the drivers’ title.

Race results after 58 laps at Istanbul Park:

1.  Button        Brawn GP-Mercedes       1h26:24.848
2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault      +6.714
3.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault      +7.461
4.  Trulli        Toyota                  +27.843
5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota        +31.539
6.  Massa         Ferrari                +39.996
7.  Kubica        BMW Sauber              +46.247
8.  Glock         Toyota                  +46.959
9.  Raikkonen     Ferrari                 +50.246
10.  Alonso        Renault                 +1:02.420
11.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber              +1:04.327
12.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       +1:06.376
13.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      +1:20.454
14.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      +1 lap
15.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari      +1 lap
16.  Piquet        Renault                 +1 lap
17.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  +1 lap
18.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     +1 lap

диваниFastest lap: Button, 1:27.579

Not classified/retirements:
Barrichello   Brawn GP-Mercedes         49 laps
Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes      5 laps

World Championship standings, round 7:

1.  Button        61
2.  Barrichello   35
3.  Vettel        29
4.  Webber        27.5
5.  Trulli        19.5
6.  Glock         13
7.  Rosberg       11.5
8.  Massa         11
9.  Alonso        11
10.  Hamilton       9
11.  Raikkonen      9
12.  Heidfeld       6
13.  Kovalainen     4
14.  Buemi          3
15.  Kubica         2
16.  Bourdais       2

1.  Brawn GP-Mercedes      96
2.  Red Bull-Renault       56.5
3.  Toyota                 32.5
4.  Ferrari                20
5.  McLaren-Mercedes       13
6.  Williams-Toyota        11.5
7.  Renault                11
8.  BMW Sauber              8
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari      5

Next race: British Grand Prix, Silverstone. June 19-21.

4 thoughts to “Button extends championship lead with victory in Istanbul”

  1. Lets hear what the race winner has to say after taking this latest victory in Istanbul. Courtesy from Autosport.com.

    Jenson Button hailed his Brawn car in Turkey as the best he has driven so far this year after storming to his sixth victory of the season.

    The Briton started from second position behind Sebastian Vettel, but he took the lead very early on and never looked back.

    Button was unbeatable again and took his sixth win in seven races, finishing over six seconds ahead of Mark Webber after cruising over the final laps.

    “Today the car was the best it has been this year,” said a delighted Button. “We have been quick on other occasions but the car was loose and not suiting my style. I have to thank everyone, it just keeps getting better.

    “I don’t know if this circuit suits us more than other. The car was fantastic today and I wish I could have had all the boys of the podium.”

    Although Button came under pressure from pole-setter Vettel in the second part of the race, he was aware that the Red Bull driver had an extra stop to do and admitted he was never too worried.

    The Briton claimed his team was simply in another league this weekend.

    “It was okay, I knew that he was going short,” Button said. “We knew what lap he was going to stop on. It is still not a very nice feeling to see a car catch you eight tenths a lap. Today we were a step ahead and it is a nice feeling.”

    The Brawn driver is now 26 points ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello in the standings, and with the British Grand Prix coming up.

    “The British GP is always special even when times have been tougher. Leading the championship by 26 points is quite a nice feeling and I am looking forward to it very much,” added Button, who became the first man to win in Turkey having not started from pole.

    As for Sebastian Vettel, running a three-stop strategy was not ideal and you can sense the young German was not to happy with the outcome.

    Sebastian Vettel said he was surprised that Red Bull did not alter his strategy after he lost the lead to Jenson Button on the opening lap of the Turkish Grand Prix.

    The pole-sitter ran wide in the Turn 9/10 chicane on lap one, allowing Button to sweep past. He then remained on his planned three-stop strategy and eventually fell to third behind two-stoppers Button and Mark Webber.

    Although Vettel used his lighter fuel load to close on Button in his second stint, he was unable to pass the Brawn before pitting again, ruined any hope of using the alternate strategy to gain an advantage.

    “When we have seen Jenson was not behind us, I thought we were switching to two stops,” said Vettel.

    “Then in the second stint I was in traffic to Jenson, I nearly passed him, I had one chance but it was quite tricky and after that I lost a bit of time.

    “It turned out three stopping was possibly not as quick as two stops.”

    Vettel admitted that he could only blame himself for the opening lap error.

    “I nearly lost car in turns 9/10,” he said. “It was my mistake. All day it was difficult there – maybe there was a tail wind. On the second lap I nearly lost the car again.”

    But he reckoned that ultimately the Brawn was just too fast to beat today.

    “I don’t think it would have made a big difference as Jenson was too quick today,” said Vettel. “I don’t hink I would have been able to hold him.”

    The German caught team-mate Webber for second in the final stint, but received a radio message from the team telling him that Webber was faster and he should conserve his car. Although Vettel continued closing on the second-placed Red Bull, he insisted he had heeded the instruction.

    “They did not tell me to pass Mark, they said Mark was faster, so similar to what he did, we turned the engine down,” said Vettel.

    “If you start from pole you want to win and if you lose the lead on the first lap it is not good. If you see someone has quicker pace it is not nice to see.

    “I was third and of course I was not happy with that and kept pushing to the end. I turned the engine down, but I would rather go fast for the last few laps than just going around.”

  2. And what about Rubens Barrichello, who had a great opportunity starting third on the grid? Well, his anti-stall system kicked in and the Brazilian had a frustrating race as he tried to regain lost track position. Article taken from Autosport.com.

    Rubens Barrichello was left frustrated after his first retirement of the season following a troubled Turkish Grand Prix.

    Barrichello, starting from third position, lost all his chances of a good result when he nearly stalled at the start, when his anti-stall system kicked in due to what he said was a problem with the clutch calculations.

    As he tried to regain ground, he made contact with Heikki Kovalainen and Adrian Sutil, and then retired with gearbox problems.

    Meanwhile, team-mate Jenson Button cruised to his sixth win in seven races.

    Barrichello, now 26 points behind Button, admitted he was frustrated that all the problems hit his side of the garage.

    “It appears to be a gearbox problem,” Barrichello told the BBC. “The one that I had on the start – same as Australia, when I dumped the clutch the anti-stall came in and it was the wrong calculation for the clutch once again on my side.

    “With the anti-stall I couldn’t get going and then, to complicate things, I was on the rev limiter halfway through the straight, which didn’t make my life easier because I had to compete against cars with KERS and I had to force my way around. That’s a race like this.

    “It’s just frustrating because it has been happening too much on my side.”

    As for Kimi Raikkonen, the start of the Turkish Grand Prix, in which he damaged his front wing against the back of Fernando Alonso’s Renault on the opening lap, cost him the chance of scoring points.

    Kimi Raikkonen blamed his poor start at the Turkish Grand Prix for his failure to finish in the points in Istanbul on Sunday.

    The Ferrari driver started from sixth but dropped down the order at the first corner.

    He then hit Fernando Alonso, damaging his front wing, which made his car hard to drive until he pitted for the first time to replace it.

    The Finn went on to finish in ninth, 50 seconds behind race winner Jenson Button.

    He told the BBC: “I got a very bad start and then ended up fighting with the guys in the first few corners and ran a little bit wide in the back of, I think, corner nine then touched Fernando’s rear wheel when I tried to pass him on the end of the straight, so I broke the front wing a bit.

    “After that it was a bit difficult. The car was OK after we changed the front wing and the tyres – the end of the second stint and the last stint was fine – but it was too late.

    “With a better start I think we could easily have got one or two points, but that’s how it goes.

    Raikkonen believes Ferrari, winner in Turkey for the last three years, should be stronger at the British Grand Prix.

    “It’s a different place again. Usually the car has been quite strong there,” he added.

    “We’re going to get something new again for Silverstone so it definitely has improved but here I think was more difficult than in the previous race and it just depends on where you go, which kind of circuit it is.”

    Team-mate Felipe Massa was unable to score his fourth consecutive win in Turkey, the Brazilian having to settle for a distant sixth.

  3. Was a good effort by Vettel to come back from that bad start but ultimately Button was too fast. I’d have to say that Button is a deserving winning and championship leader, his driving skill is on par with the best drivers out there. Although the current season is making it clear just how much the car impacts on the results.

    Thankfully that Hamilton is still down the bottom, may that stay that way for a long time to come.

  4. You’re right about Button being a deserving and worthy championship leader after seven races. Even team boss Ross Brawn is impressed by the Englishman and feels that every Grand Prix, Jenson Button is getting better. Read on for the full story taken from Autosport.com.

    Brawn chief Ross Brawn has no doubts that Jenson Button is getting better with each race, after hailing his drive to victory in the Turkish Grand Prix as the best he has seen from the runaway title leader.

    Button was dominant throughout the Istanbul race to take his sixth victory from seven races this year and open up a 26-point lead in the world championship standings.

    And although he faced a stronger than normal challenge from the three-stopping Red Bull Racing car of Sebastian Vettel, Button put in a faultless performance that has left Brawn in no doubts about how good it was.

    “Well, I think he had the perfect drive,” said Brawn. “I mean, that was a really, really impressive drive.

    “He pushed when he needed to, he looked after the tyres, he looked after the engine, he’d gained a little bit of fuel at different parts of the race where he had to look after the fuel consumption to make the laps.

    “So I think it’s probably the best performance – not necessarily the most dramatic – but probably the best performance that I’ve seen from him. He just seems to be getting better.”

    Although Vettel’s hopes of victory were effectively dashed when the German ran wide on the opening lap of the race while in the lead, Brawn does not believe that his team’s main rival had a chance of triumphing without that incident.

    “If we’d stayed with him and been right on his tail, then I think we could have beaten a three-stop in a straight fight,” he said. “But I don’t know what his pace would have been like in subsequent sessions. So it’s difficult to judge.

    “Our calculations, at least here, showed that a three-stop wasn’t the preferred strategy. Although it might have been the strategy to give you some free air to run if you were held up.”

    In contrast to Button’s smooth ride to what is looking increasingly like a world championship, Brawn’s second driver Rubens Barrichello suffered a nightmare in Turkey.

    He nearly stalled at the start and then collided with several cars as he tried to recover through the field before eventually retiring with gearbox problems.

    Brawn said he was unsure whether the stall at the start was the result of a driver error or car problem.

    “It can be both,” he said. “It can be a driver error, or it can be the fact that the optimisation that the driver is looking for is too sharp; it’s too difficult to find.

    “What they do is, they hold the revs and then they drop the clutch in a progressive way, and they have to try to have the right throttle pedal held, and those two things are too acute, and it’s very difficult to do.

    “He had a difficult start off the grid and made a few adjustments, but obviously they didn’t work.”

    As for Lewis Hamilton, another disappointing run outside the points means he has no chance to retain his drivers’ title. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh admits the world championship is out of reach as Formula One heads to the British Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has conceded that Lewis Hamilton’s title defence is all but over – as he fears his outfit would not even be on the podium for a while judging by its poor performance in Turkey.

    After encouraging progress early in the season, McLaren suffered a slump down the order in Istanbul as Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen struggled with the high-speed aerodynamic deficiencies of their car.

    And with Hamilton having now failed to score points for the last three races, Whitmarsh conceded that runaway title leader Jenson Button was now all but out of reach.

    “I think you have to say that Jenson looks in good shape, and I am sure he deserves it,” he explained. “He has had years of really struggling in the dark and now he is doing a fantastic job, he is in a competitive car and I have to say that he looks like he is going to be the world champion. I think he is doing a fantastic job.

    “With regards to us, then we have to make sure that we are strong next year. We have to make sure that the way in which we approach next year is that we apply adequate resource.”

    Whitmarsh believes that his team and Ferrari are still suffering from having pushed so hard and long with development last year – at a time when teams like Brawn and Red Bull Racing were focusing entirely on their 2009 challengers.

    “I think ourselves and Ferrari are still struggling as a consequence of what has happened in the last few years, but at the same time to say we are a racing team and to say we are not going to try and win a race this year is not in our make up.

    “It is not in our DNA – we will be pushing hard to see how we can improve the car. We are realistic, we are not making any predictions that we are going to be back there on the podium any time soon, but we are going to keep pushing and learning what we can from this car and making sure that we apply adequate resource to next year’s car to make sure we are competitive.”

    Whitmarsh said the team was not too surprised that it had a troubled time in Turkey – despite some encouraging laps from Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen in Friday practice.

    “I think Friday when there was low track grip and you saw people getting exciting, I don’t think people in our camp were getting excited,” he said. “We were realistic.

    “We knew it was going to be a tough weekend and so I think also when you don’t’ qualify well, you look at Rubens (Barrichello’s) performance in a vastly superior car, you cannot make progress and it is very, very difficult to recover. So, if you are back there in qualifying then there is little you can do. Our drivers drove a solid race but you can’t rescue yourself.”

    When asked by AUTOSPORT if he feared another difficult time at Hamilton’s home race at Silverstone next week, Whitmarsh said: “I think it is going to be hard, but we will fight and do the best we can.”

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