Turkish GP review: Red Bull back on top

Sebastian Vettel led home Red Bull’s first one-two of the 2011 F1 season in Istanbul this afternoon, as the reigning champion dominated another action-packed race.

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso finally got around to launching his championship challenge, scrambling on to the final step on the podium from fifth on the grid as his souped-up Ferrari out-paced McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who finished fourth and sixth. Nico Rosberg had a disappointing afternoon, finishing fifth after qualifying third; the Renaults of Heidfeld and Petrov came in seventh and eighth, while tenacious drives from Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi saw them round out the top ten.

Still, despite all the jostling for position on the track, the pit lane at the Istanbul Park circuit was the scene of just as much action. There were a staggering 73 pit-stops during the race – an average of three and a half stops for each of the 26 finishers and the most since 1993’s British Grand Prix at Donington Park. So, while Formula One is definitely exciting again, the question is, with tyres more important than ever, are we right to be excited?

Pirelli were asked to deliver a product that’d make races more exciting, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. On one hand, then, their new fast-degrading PZero tyre – made from a mixture of natural rubber and other quick-wearing ingredients (presumably left-over battenberg) – is the greatest thing that’s happened to the sport in years. The late race overtaking that saw Hamilton snatch victory from Vettel in China recalls the glory days of Prost and Senna, where nothing was certain until the chequered flag had been waved, the champagne quaffed and everyone had packed up and gone home.

On the other hand though, it could be argued that this new action on our screens is a fraud. Have races been engineered to up viewing figures and appease advertisers rather provide a fair and fitting challenge for the world’s best drivers? While we certainly enjoy seeing them go toe-to-toe on a regular basis, the reduced durability of Pirelli’s new, softer prime tyre means it’s virtually impossible for them to defend a position if challenged by someone on fresher boots. With lap times creeping up by around a second after just a few laps’ wear, it means that not only has pit-stop strategy become more important than ever, but that very rarely will on-track tussles accurately reflect a driver’s true skill, especially in the latter stages of a race.

So what do you lot think? Would you rather see more durable tyres reintroduced or are you just happy to finally get some wheel-to-wheel action with your Sunday lunch? While you’re chewing it over, here’s the full classification for today’s race:

1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Mark Webber
3. Fernando Alonso
4. Lewis Hamilton
5. Nico Rosberg
6. Jenson Button
7. Nick Heidifeld
8. Vitaly Petrov
9. Sebastian Buemi
10 .Kamui Kobayashi
11. Felipe Massa
12. Michael Schumacher
13. Adrian Sutil
14. Sergio Perez
15. Rubens Barrichello
16. Jamie Alguersuari
17. Pastor Maldonado
18. Jarno Trulli
19. Heikki Kovalainen
20. Jerome d’Ambrosio
21. Narain Karthikeyan
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi
23. Paul Di Resta (DNF)
24. Timo Glock (DNS)

And if you missed the race, here’s BBC Sport’s handy “the whole thing in 90 seconds” video…

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If you dont see that Vettel is definitely one of the most talented drivers in F1 and think it is just the car, wow then you are either stupid or know nothing about F1. Yes he currently is in the best car, but he is wiping the floor with Webber. And he has already showed in the past that he can perform way above the potential of the car. And Button wasnt praised in 2009 because he only won because his car was miles ahead of the field (1 or 2 seconds a lap in the beginning) and if it wasnt for the fact that his competitors all split the wins he wouldnt have won.

Compare the two: Vettel won last year, and is in the lead this year with a car which is about half a second quicker at the best of times, against Lewis and Alonso and Webber who all have competitive cars.

Button won in 2009 (by only a few points, think it was 2) in a car which was 1 or 2 seconds ahead, when Lewis, Vettel, Alonso, Raikonnen and Webber were in horrible cars. The Red Bull and Mclaren only became competitive in the later part of the year (still slower but competitive).

Vettel has shown in the past he can do really well in a crap car. Button, when he was in the bad BAR years and the horrible Honda, was in the back of the field

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This is a British site, comparing Vettel to other British drivers is forbidden. According the most Brits, Vettel is only as good as his car and is not as good as the amazing Lewis Hamilton. Calling into facts that Vettel has outperformed Hamilton time and time over again, and did great with bad cars is not allowed. Its frowned upon here. Hamilton is the best, period.

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lol this cracks me up. See you guys in spain, it is going to be amazing. the artificial passes are frowned up on but it has added spice to the mix, what FIA need to do is get rid of KERS and allow the drivers to use DRS whenever they want.

top drivers are Vettel, Hamilton and Alanso. These drivers are the cream of the crop. Vettel for his sheer speed and consistency, Lewis for his aggressive passes and Alanso for his tenacious driving ability. Out of the three, Vettel and Alanso are better well rounded drivers. Hamilton does not know how to drive smooth or manage his tires, this fault is out shined by his brilliance behind the wheel. All three of these men are great in different ways.

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If McLaren had won; this article would be TopGear’s home page, biased?

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dont ya think that virgin,lotus and hispania are terrible. why the hell were they allowed in to f1 in the first place. i do have to say tires are awesome.

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there is always room for junor teams, without them, there is no future. Redbull was at the back of the pack until 2008, look where they are now. is virgin, lotus or hispania the next F1 world constructor, title holders?

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Vettles “dominence” is down to his car, if all the feild was in the RB7 then i’m sure he’d still win races and get poles but so would other drivers. Not taking away from his obvious skill, It would be far more even. Once the feild is more even we will be able to see more but vettles new found calmness will see him through to winning the champ this year.

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Did anyone else appreciate Pippa’s bottom and mention it to their significant other?

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There is more action, yes. You can call it “artificial” with DRS and Kers, and single serving tires, but nothing’s really changed since last year. Vettel is still at the front, Virgin at the bottom, and Ferrari is still making up excuses.

What I would hate to see is the teams stopping to even try to qualify, they (Bernie) should try to do something to make qualifying important again, perhaps allowing to start the race on fresh tires.

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ARTaken,red bull used to be jaguar so theyve only been around six years

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Forget watching F1 anymore only Vettel will win

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So if Vettel win a race or two there is no reason to watch F1? Trust me, he will not win all. The RB7 is only a fraction of a second faster than the field. The other teams will catch up McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault are looking strong.

Forget Vettel, look at webber, Nico came withing .1 of a second to his fastest time for the weekend. Webbers RB7 is working perfect and he admitted that his lap was good. The field is not that far behind the RB7.

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6 years is not such a long time. These newer teams need to enter into F1 for the future of F1. It might take 10 years but one day, Lotus will reign again! Maybe Force India will be a front runner and contend for world title in a few years?

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Vettel FTW in Spain! Looking forward to McLaren’s updates also, more great battles like we have been seeing.

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i would rather the proper manufacturers like maserati came back but they wont because of the engine changes. but lotus is just an on off manufacturer that hasnt built anything for two years.ferrari build at least two a year.

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and webbers awful

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Agree with Masseratti blue.
Stop the ingine freeze!
Bring back the V10s and V12s!
Forget about the Turbo formula (we had it in the
eighties and almost everybody was relieved to go back to the ‘normal’ engines in 1989 bcs of the noise). And bring back (at least some) testing!
And ban Kers and DRS forever because this is like increasing the score in football by making the net twice as large!
And damn make the cars look normal again please!
(read:make the wings the size they were untill 2008!)

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s2000 i agree with the v12s w, well done man

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s2000 i agree with the v12s , well done man

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