Monday, May 31, 2010

Cool Hamilton wins Turkish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton took full advantage of a crash involving his two Red Bull rivals to claim victory and head Jenson Button home in a dramatic McLaren one-two in Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old, who had started second on the grid, was third after a poor pit-stop had delayed him briefly when championship leader Mark Webber was sent spinning off the track by his hot-headed Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

The collision cost Webber, 33, what looked certain to be a hat-trick after wins in Spain and Monaco and left Vettel, 22, in the gravel and out of contention - but delivered a gift-wrapped 43 points to the McLaren men.

It was 2008 champion Hamilton's first win of the year, the 12th of his career and his first since last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

"I don't know what happened, but they collided and we got past them and we had a bit of a battle - a fair one, I must say - before the end," said Hamilton.

"It was a great result for the team and I am happy to dedicate it to my dad for his 50th birthday tomorrow."

Button said: "It was a great duel with Lewis towards the end - I had the run into turn 12, on the outside, and I just had to have a go.

"We were wheel to wheel for five corners -- and it was fun, but he got me back at turn one and after that it was back to 'fuel save' mode."

Hamilton had not only to beat the self-destructing Red Bulls, but also a vigorous challenge from Button.

The two McLaren men raced wheel to wheel on lap 48 and even touched before Hamilton emerged in front and led the defending world champion home in a result that lifted them to the top of the constructors' title race.

The decisive incident came when Webber was leading with Vettel second when the young German made an ill-judged passing move -- and steered right into the Australian's car, sending both off the circuit.

Webber, the drivers' championship leader, managed to recover and re-join in third place, but the impetuous Vettel's race was over.

"A big shame for the team -- and not an ideal scenario at all," said Webber.

"It can happen. He had a slight speed advantage, but he turned right into me and made contact and ... well, that was it.

"There was a long way to go and I was not guaranteed to win, but it was an interesting few metres on the track between us."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: "It was very disappointing. I need to talk to both drivers. We did everything right as a team, but they should never have been there, where they were.

"It is bad for the team and we have lost a lot of points. I always ask them to give each other room, but we have handed the points on a plate to McLaren now.

"We saw Lewis and Jenson racing each other and giving each other space. That's all we ask for."

It was the McLaren team's second one-two this season after the China Grand Prix when Button lead home Hamilton.

German Michael Schumacher, 41, the seven-times champion, came home fourth for Mercedes behind Webber with his team-mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg fifth and Pole Robert Kubica sixth for Renault.

Brazilian Felipe Massa finished seventh for Ferrari ahead of Alonso in a disappointing result for the Italian team as they celebrated their 800th Grand Prix.

German Adrian Sutil was ninth for Force India and Japanese Kamui Kobayashi picked up the final point and the Sauber team's first this season in 10th place.

Hamilton's win lifted him up to third in the drivers' title race behind Webber, who continued to lead on 93 points with Button second on 88. Vettel has 78. In the constructors' championship, McLaren leap-frogged to the top ahead of Red Bull on 172 points to 171.

Vettel, who failed to score, trudged back to the paddock without speaking.
Later, he said: "I'm not very happy now after something like this happens. We are all pretty much the same speed and pace and I felt I was able to go quicker. I dived down the left, I had the corner so I was trying to focus on the braking and I lost the car.

"We are a team and we have to respect that fact. It's important points for myself, and the team, that are lost and it's not the best case..."


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