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Turkey 2009: Jenson Button Takes Sixth Victory From Seven Attempts

Turkey 2009: Jenson Button Takes Sixth Victory From Seven Attempts

Jenson Button has won the Turkish Grand Prix in dominant fashion after he managed to get ahead of Sebastian Vettel on the first lap. Stopping twice Button’s initial pressure came from Vettel, then Webber as the German slipped behind his team mate. It wasn’t a perfect race for Brawn though as they suffered their first retirement of the season, Rubens Barrichello parking the car in the garage after issues with his gearbox.

The opening lap on a very hot Istanbul Park circuit was dramatic as Button moved away from the dirty side well and maintained P2 behind Vettel. However, behind the leading duo Jarno Trulli rocketed off the line and challenged Webber for P3, passing the Australian into T1. Experiencing a more troubled start was Barrichello though, whose clutch suffered a problem and he over-torqued the gearbox after the anti-stall kicked in. Rubens went backwards on the first lap to the point where Lewis Hamilton who started in P16 was challenging him.

Barrichello’s dramas weren’t over though, but before the Brazilian suffered further headaches, Vettel would cause one for himself that would ultimately decide the rest of race. Running over the kerb at T10 the RB5’s rear-right wheel dragged itself over the astro-turf and when Vettel was able to rejoin, he ran wide on the exit. Vettel’s moment gifted Button the opportunity to pass, which the Briton took.

Also on the opening lap, Kimi Raikkonen suffered a poor start and in the final complex, the Finn tagged Fernando Alonso and damaged his front wing. Rubens Barrichello found himself boxed up behind Heikki Kovalainen and in a much faster car, Barrichello was all over the McLaren’s gearbox. However, without KERS, Rubens was finding it impossible to pull alongside the MP4-24 as Heikki pressed the go faster button on the steering wheel.

Frustration soon set in for Barrichello though and heading into the final complex, the Brazilian charged forward as Kovalainen ran wide. Rubens edged through, but Heikki recovered and was able to repass thanks to his KERS-enabled car. The following lap, Barrichello tried his move again, this time at T9. The pair tangled and Rubens came off the worse, spinning his Brawn around while Kovalainen was able to continue. Shortly after his incident, Barrichello radioed his team to say he had no seventh gear as his race went from bad to worse.

Moving through the race the pack settled and it soon became about the strategy of the Red Bull and the leading Brawn. It was expected by many for Vettel to change to a two-stop race after he lost the advantage of the lead. Not being able to maximise his lighter car and pull out a gap, the obvious choice was to switch the pilot’s pitstops. However, Red Bull chose to continue with a three-stopper, even to Vettel’s surprise as he stated after the race.

In the second stint after both leaders had pitted, Vettel found himself in a very fast car in comparison to Button, with less fuel meaning a lighter car, Vettel cruised up behind the Brawn driver and wiped out the lead the Briton had built up prior to the first stops. Not being able to pass though as the RB5 does not perform well in the dirty turbulent air of another car, Vettel stayed on three stops and pitted again.

Elsewhere in the field, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock found themselves battling each other at times, but being on different strategies, Trulli released Glock so as to not hamper his race. By 58, everything had worked out as Trulli finished in the points ahead of this team mate.

Lewis Hamilton, who was only stopping the once, changed to the soft tyres on L33, but with a very heavy car and cold boots found himself having to defend to a charging Nelson Piquet Jr. The Renault pilot forced his way through in the end with some solid driving. The fact the pair didn’t make any serious contact in credit to them both.

On L48 Rubens Barrichello finally retired his Brawn, the car getting harder and harder to drive. It is Brawn’s first retirement in 2009 and the Brazilian driver has endured possibly his worse race of the season so far. Rubens joined the only other retiree of the event, Giancarlo Fisichella.

The only real other point of interest was the final battle between Vettel and Webber. The German pilot, on three-stops, ended up chasing his team mate in the final stint. However, Vettel was catching Webber very quickly and it looked to be a showdown finish between the pair.

Wanting to preserve the result of second and third though, Red Bull informed Vettel that Webber was faster (although clearly he wasn’t) and that Sebastian should save his car. The message was clearly an instruction from the team to tell the drivers to stop racing each other, and Vettel stated after the race that he wanted to respond to the team, but resisted. Of course, Vettel has crashed in to the back of Webber before, so perhaps the team were correct in wanting to avoid any potential incident, even if it did mean frustration for viewers.

By L58, Button had backed off and his 20s lead over Webber had been reduced by half. Jenson comfortably won in Turkey, made even more impressive by the fact it wasn’t from pole position but instead from the dirty side of the grid in P2. Barrichello’s retirement will cause concern for the team, but ultimately the result is still very good for the Brackley squad.

Red Bull Racing also leave Istanbul with a healthy dose of points and Webber edges closer towards Vettel and moves ahead of Trulli in the championship. Other drives of note go to Nico Rosberg who eventually finished in P5 and Robert Kubica who finally scored some points this year with a drive to P7.

Oliver White

24 comments

  • Hi Ollie not sure “Button managed to get ahead of Vettel” I had the feeling it rather was “Vettel managed to f*** it up” in the first lap.

    I believe there was a real chance for Sebastian to win the race, even after this big mistake. After the race Sebastian said he was surprised that he was kept on 4 stints, and I share his point of view as his 2nd stint proved useless to overtake Jenson.

    …Slightly off topic a question (for Alianora?): As the race is finished when the winner crosses the line (art. 43.1) do you know if the last lap of any other driver could be counted as fastest lap of the race? Many thanks in advance!

  • not sure “Button managed to get ahead of Vettel” I had the feeling it rather was “Vettel managed to f*** it up” in the first lap.

    I see what you’re syaing, but at the end of the day, Button managed to get ahead. For the record, I’m more of a Vettel fan than a Button fan, which is slightly odd perhaps.

    I believe there was a real chance for Sebastian to win the race, even after this big mistake. After the race Sebastian said he was surprised that he was kept on 4 stints, and I share his point of view as his 2nd stint proved useless to overtake Jenson.

    I totally agree. I pipped Vettel for the win and was shocked that his strategy remained a strict three-stopper. I share Vettel’s surprise, but then hindsight is 20:20 for the team. I’m pleased Webber was on the podium though – he is a driver who thoroughly deserves it.

    In fact, 2009 is shaping up to be the year of deserved success. Button deserves it after all the anguish from poor cars from BAR and Honda (only ’05 I think stands out, and his win in Hungary). Webber deserves a win, surely. And Vettel is a champion in the making.

  • “Not being able to pass though as the RB5 does not perform well in the dirty turbulent air of another car”.

    Really? Doesn’t seem to give Mark Webber a problem. It is beginning to look as if der Wunderkind is no great racer – or it will do as long as he fails to overtake any car with comparable performance. He may be a world champion in the making but the making is far from over, methinks.

  • Not going to make friends here and now but let’s be a bit blunt 😉

    What special quality does Button have to “deserve” a title? If he was that talented why wasn’t him given a chance by any other team before? Were all the team principals that blind not to give him a chance?

    Would you ever rank Jenson with the likes of Alonso? Hamilton? Raikkonen? I will not.

    He does the job very nicely, beautiful style, very gentle with the car. He is a nice person no doubt either. He has the luck to be in a dominant car and grabs the opportunity. Fine by me nothing to complain about… but that’s it.

    Paired with Lewis, Fernando or Kimi I’m not sure it will be the same story.

    And this for me is the big question raised by this ’09 season: What is the real added-value of the drivers in recent F1 years? OK Jenson should not be the only one to be questioned, and 2009 not the only season to be taken into account but I believe it is worth asking the question.

    Sorry guys but sometimes we have to call a cat… a cat! (french expression to say: let’s speak the truth and name the things by their own name not pretending they are something else)

    No provocation here just my gut feeling..

  • As the race is finished when the winner crosses the line (art. 43.1) do you know if the last lap of any other driver could be counted as fastest lap of the race? Many thanks in advance! {Ago – 4 comments ago}

    The fastest lap can be counted as the fastest lap of the race. I think they use the start line to do the measurement, which explains why the winner is rarely subject to this effect. You will find that many drivers further down the field do get their fastest lap of the race the last time round though.

  • Understand that Alianora but I was thinking that on their last lap all drivers cut the finish line AFTER the winner, and when the winner has crossed it then it is the end of the race.

    So technically the race is finished before they complete their lap.

    Now I am wrong (Monza 2008, Vettel wins, lap record for Kimi on his last lap) but I feel that rule a bit weird….

    Thanks anyway! 😉

  • Would you ever rank Jenson with the likes of Alonso? Hamilton? Raikkonen? I will not.

    I would, yes, and so would Martin Brundle, who said that Button was better than Hamilton. He was never given the chance, because he never had the opportunity to show off, and after is great season where he came 3rd, he chose to commit to Honda, instead of leave, why? Because hes a great sportsman, and imo deserves this so much more than Hamilton, who has had it easy the whole way.

  • Really? Doesn’t seem to give Mark Webber a problem.

    You think? How many cars did Webber overtake for position in Turkey? Webber did well in Malaysia or China, I think, but possibly because of the adverse conditions.

    He may be a world champion in the making but the making is far from over, methinks.

    Well, yes. That’s the point of saying “in the making”. 😛

    If [Button] was that talented why wasn’t him given a chance by any other team before? Were all the team principals that blind not to give him a chance?

    Williams gave him a chance – his break, in fact – but he was passed up so Montoya could have a go at F1. Flavio Briatore gave him a chance as did the management at BAR/Honda/Brawn.

    I think Button’s dealings with the Williams/BAR contract left an odd taste in many a team principal. Button did not handle that well and he definitely came off looking pretty bad for it.

    What special quality does Button have to “deserve” a title?

    My full quote was that Button deserves it after racing around in all those terrible cars for so many years. Maybe it was his fault for signing long-term contracts, or being too trusting, or not being good enough to get a better drive? Quite simply, I do not know. However, I do feel that when a driver is racing around the back of the grid for so long and suddenly gets the chance to go for it, he should deserve it. That’s not to say that he should win the crown, or that he deserves it more than any/every other driver. But there is some deserved-ness in there.

    But if you insist on bringing the skill of a driver into it – something I did not mention – then I do place Jenson quite highly. How many mistakes has he made in the seven races so far? Compare that to Hamilton’s previous years and I think we’ll all be a little surprised. Button has the maturity that Hamilton doesn’t have yet. Button also knows how to work the media a lot better. Yeah, I know it’s probably easier when you’re winning, but even last year Hamilton was still bashed around a bit by the press because of the way he dealt with them.

    Jenson is a very smooth and talented driver, and now he has a competitive car, we can see it. Maybe he’s not a Schumacher Snr, or a Hakkinen, Alonso or Raikkonen or Clark or Senna or whoever, but still pretty good. At the end of the day, he’s beating the most experienced driver on the grid who has raced and won for Ferrari in the past. And really, who else can we compare Button to than his team mates. And arguably, Barrichello should be his most challenging team mate so far. Well, aside from Villeneuve, but my thoughts on Villeneuve are well known.

    I’m not sure Hamilton has “had it easy” as Siwongo says, but I do understand where that comment comes from. Hamilton has been nurtured and honed at mostly McLaren’s expense, whereas Button came through the ranks in a more traditional way. He competed in lower formulae and when he was noticed, he was promoted and moved up. He didn’t have the name behind him. However, that isn’t to take anything away from Hamilton, just that it was a different journey to the top.

  • How many cars did Webber overtake for position in Turkey? Webber did well in Malaysia or China, I think, but possibly because of the adverse conditions.

    It was China. Webber and Button had a little battle, ending in Webber passing around the outside of a corner and through a wall of spray. Button admitted afterwards he just hadn’t seen him coming.

    Not fair to blame it on the conditions (it is actually harder to overtake in the wet anyway) – the point is that Webber has done the deed this season whereas Vettel, in spite of several instances of being trapped behind slower cars, has not.

    Well, yes. That’s the point of saying “in the making”.

    The point I was making was that Vettel still has a long way to go before we can consider him championship material. And he can start by showing that he has learned how to pass a slower car.

  • Hi Ollie: My mistake then… Reading “he deserves” I stopped on that. Nobody deserves a WC in my eyes, you win it or not the rest is futile. Sterling Moss deserved a title and may be more… Jenson? not sure. But if, as planned, he got one this year I won’t complain.

    A talented driver? Yes he is! A racer? Not so sure.

    Clive: Vettel is championship material that is pretty obvious. Will he won one? Only time will tell but I’ll put some money on this…

    Vettel (21yo): 33 races 2 wins 3 poles 4 podiums 70pts

    Webber (32yo): 128 races 0 wins 0 poles 5 podiums 128pts

  • Nobody deserves a WC in my eyes, you win it or not the rest is futile. Sterling Moss deserved a title and may be more… Jenson? not sure. But if, as planned, he got one this year I won’t complain.

    A talented driver? Yes he is! A racer? Not so sure.

    That’s a fair assessment/opinion. Chris Amon never even won a race, but he was often said to be of championship-winning material.

    The reason why I purposely didn’t bring driver skill into it initially is because comparing drivers is futile in my opinion. Yeah, we all do it from time to time, but with so many different variables in F1 (which it what makes it great, by the way), it is so hard to make a decent comparison. The record books do not tell the full story, but then nor does each driver’s general performance as the car plays big part in that as well. Still some drivers can have their car’s performance credited to them because they did so well at developing it. These days though, it is harder for drivers to do that, especially with the in-season ban on testing.

    I loathe those articles some magazines/sites run that try to pick the best ever driver etc… because it is different from person to person. Having said that, I will quote the record books for some fun…

    Vettel (21yo): 33 races 2 wins 3 poles 4 podiums 70pts

    Webber (32yo): 128 races 0 wins 0 poles 5 podiums 128pts

    *stirs the hornets nest intentionally…*

    Heidfeld (32yo): 159 races 0 wins 1 pole 12 podiums 206 points 1.3 points/race

    Vettel has 2.1 points/race and Webber has exactly 1 point/race. Button has 1.8 points/race (although that has dramatically improved this year), and Moss had 2.8 points/race.

  • I do not believe any driver with more than 100 starts and still no wins and no pole is WC material. There are plenty of very good drivers in F1 -most of them are- but it takes more than that to be WC material. But at the end of the day, and as I said, winning the title is the only thing that counts. Jenson does a good job he is now well ahead of Rubens but I hope Sebastian will give him hard times…

  • As we all know, Ago, anything can be proved with statistics. And all I have to do is mention one name to show that the winning ratio is useless as an indication of a potential world champion: Keke Rosberg. In eight years of F1 racing (128 GPs) he won five races and only one of those was in his championship year. Yet he was one of the most worthy champions of the last thirty years, his championship having been earned in an uncompetitive car.

  • I hope Sebastian will give him hard times…

    That’s really the point, isn’t it. The racing has to be great, and at the moment, it looks as though the main protagonists for the title are going to be Jenson, Sebastian and maybe Rubens. Although Button is already on ~double the points of both his nearest rivals.

    Is the racing good though? I think it’s okay through the midfield, but it is starting to become a little dull at the front already.

    I think the BBC talked about dominance in their Turkey broadcast, and referred to the Schumacher/Ferrari years. At first, it was great to see a driver race well and to also see a team recover and start to win again, but after a while it did become a little boring. Sure, there were some great races, but overall that era of the sport was a little dull, generally speaking. I don’t think we will see that with Button/Brawn, and I think this year may be his only real chance, but in a way that is a good thing because it will help keep the sport fresh.

  • The big difference between the Schumacher years and this year is that Button has serious opposition in his team mate and the Red Bull team (I think Webber is as capable of interfering with Button’s championship as Vettel). Schumacher won with a team mate hobbled by contract and a car that was undeniably the best. Button has a credible team mate and a car that is sometimes the best, sometimes the second best.

  • In eight years of F1 racing (128 GPs) he won five races and only one of those was in his championship year. Yet he was one of the most worthy champions of the last thirty years, his championship having been earned in an uncompetitive car.

    That is, in my opinion, why comparing drivers doesn’t work, or even trying to prove if a driver deserves the title or to win or whatever. The record books simply don’t tell the full story.

    I guess we all have different views on who is good enough or not. I remember looking at Fisichella in the 1997 Jordan and thinking, “Wow, he’s pretty good. He’s a champion in the making, surely!?” Even Brundle, who had his seat taken by Fisi, said so during some of the races in 1997, and again recently during a BBC broadcast. Brundle admitted that at the time, replacing him with Fisi was a no-brainer for EJ and Fisi was a driver who deserved to race in F1, moreso than himself (although he may have been overly polite as Eddie Jordan was only a few feet away from him). At the time in ’97, Brundle was also quite scathing when inexperience led Fisi to spin/crash out.

    Clearly, I was very wrong about Fisi though. But based on some of his performances that year, I stand by what I thought at the time. The same could be said of Vettel – I might be very wrong again, but I’ll stand by my words in the future and admit if I was wrong, again. 🙂

  • Couldn’t agree more, although I’m reserving judgement on Vettel for the moment. Let’s see how he fares over a full season against Webber before giving him too many accolades.

  • Let’s see how he fares over a full season against Webber before giving him too many accolades.

    That’s fair enough.

    And what the heck am I going to write about today? I’m tired of all the political stuff… 😉

    I’m yet to write about what happened yesterday, but I feel your exhaustion at the political stuff.

    The British Grand Prix is around the corner, maybe focus a post on something around that. Last year I wrote a series on British winners of the British Grand Prix that went down quite well. What about a reminiscent post on previous great British Grands Prix?

  • What about a reminiscent post on previous great British Grands Prix?

    Actually, I was thinking of doing a piece on my experiences of the British GP but was reserving it for next week when we are closer to the actual event. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    In the meantime, I’ve had an idea that might pan out quite well. With no real news today, it could be a good moment to crow a bit with some “I told you so”s… 😀

  • With no real news today, it could be a good moment to crow a bit with some “I told you so”s… 😀

    I’ll look out for it in my feed reader. It’s about time I got back into the commenting on other sites swing of things. 🙂

  • Each time I remember 1982 and Rosberg’s title my heart bleeds…

    That year we lost Gilles and the title was for Didier. With 5 races to go and a leaed of 16 points the title couldn’t go to anybody else.

    A terrible crash during the practice in Germany… and Didier will never drive a F1 again. He died a few years later in an offshore race.

  • Bear in mind the reason Pironi was able to take the race win from Gilles atImola was politcs. It was a FISA only race that the FOCA teams boycotted. In effect had Bernie not been stirring up politics Gilles may not have died.

    Button a better driver than Hamilton?? That is ridiculous and there is no way Martin Brundle said that. He may have said he was driving better than Hamilton this season or put some condition on it but there is no way he put it out as a bald assessment of there ability.

    Button had an easy ride to F1 as well. There are only two current drivers who’s pictures appeared in Autosport at the age of 10-ish while they were in karting – Button and Hamilton. Button’s father is a racing insider having been a rallycross driver of some repute. So the idea that he fought is wayto F1 and Lewis just strolled along knowing he would get a seat is wrong.

    It is way to early to say Vettel will be champion or that he has difficulty overtaking. The one thing we can say is that he has blown the idea that Webber is a mega qualifier. Webber hasn’t outqualified him all year.

    Vettel is quick and he may win a championship but there is no evidence that he is a top driver yet. People tend to assess drivers based on little evidence and then stick to any opinion they have formed and distort the evidence to suit. James Hunt used to rave about Stefano Modena and Piquet used to really rate Olivier Beretta.

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