• Jun 7, 2009
2009 Turkish Grand Prix – Click above for a high-res image gallery

With the established teams still threatening to walk and new teams lining up by the dozen, nothing could have better characterized Formula One's transition from old to new better than the move from the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago to the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend. While the Monaco race – held on the streets of Monte Carlo, with its close proximities and timeless seaside city-scape – remains one of the sport's oldest venues, the race in Turkey – at the new-school Istanbul Park Circuit, characterized by wide run-offs and state-of-the-art accommodations – is one of its youngest.

First held in 2005, the Turkish Grand Prix has been won the past three years running by the same driver: Ferrari's Felipe Massa, the young Brazilian who narrowly lost out on the driver's crown last year to Lewis Hamilton. Surely Ferrari's golden boy was eager to extend his domination at the Ottoman autodrom, but would he and his Maranello squad be able to translate the marked improvement which they displayed in Monte Carlo just a fortnight ago into a return to winning form in Istanbul? Follow the jump to find out.

Practice sessions on Friday and Saturday in Istanbul leading up to Race Sunday were a mixed bag, with drivers changing places in the time sheets faster than they could change tires. Saturday morning Massa was at the top, but by the time qualifying was done that afternoon the Brazilian had fallen down to seventh place on the grid behind his own team-mate, 2007's world champion Kimi Raikkonen. Leading the grid were Red Bull wunderkind Sebastian Vettel on pole, championship leader Jenson Button beside him in 2nd, perennial runner-up Rubens Barrichello in 3rd, Vettel's veteran wing-man Mark Webber in 4th, and Toyota's Jarno Trulli in 5th. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso trailed Massa in 8th, and defending champion Lewis Hamilton never made it out of the first qualifying session, placing him way down the field in 16th place. Once the lights flashed green and the race got under way, however, all bets were off.

By half-way through the first lap, Vettel and Button were well clear of the rest of the field, while Barrichello dropped down to 13th place right off the line due to a bad start. That would prove only the first of Barrichello's problems this afternoon, but by the end of that first lap, his team-mate had already taken the lead from Vettel, who ran wide on the chicane between turns 9 and 10. And there Button would stay for the 57 laps remaining to score yet another race victory, making it six for seven and even further entrenching what has become a practically unassailable lead for the dominant Brit and the Little Team That Could.

The four-second lead that Button managed to open up over Vettel prompted Red Bull to switch the young German to a three-stop strategy, but by the closing laps Button was too far ahead and Webber closed the distance to squeak by his team-mate, leading him home to a strong two-three finish for RBR.

All the while, Barrichello was struggling. Following his disappointing start, the elder statesman of the F1 circus fought the most engaging battle of a race otherwise rather devoid of action. Fighting his way from 13th back to his "rightful" place in second, the veteran Brazilian tried passing McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, only to have the door shut on him. The two made contact and Rubens spun out, and after recovering he busted his front wing on Adrian Sutil's Force India. Administering a heaping dose of wheel-to-wheel action, Barrichello managed to fight his way back up to the middle of the field, only to have his overburdened gearbox fail on him with just 11 laps to go.

What of his fellow Brazilian, the driver who assumed his seat at Ferrari and who so hoped to turn Istanbul – the track which he made his home away from home three years running – into a turning point in this fruitless season? Sixth place was the best he could muster this year in Turkey – an improvement over the seventh place he started on the grid, but hardly a new beginning for Massa or Ferrari.

Ahead of Massa and behind the podium finishers Button, Webber and Vettel came Toyota's Jarno Trulli in 4th and a solid 5th place finish for Williams' Nico Rosberg. BMW's Robert Kubica scored his first point this season in 7th, with Trulli's wing-man Timo Glock picking up the final point in 8th. Behind them everyone finished but Barrichello and Force India's Giancarlo Fisichello (who was out by lap 5): Raikkonen, Alonso, Heidfeld (BMW), Nakajima (Williams), Hamilton, Kovalainen, Buemi (STR), Piquet (Renault), Sutil, and Bourdais (STR) all finished outside the points.

Button now leads with a menacing 61 points, his team-mate following a distant 2nd in the standings with 35. Vettel trails in 3rd with 29, ahead of his team-mate Webber 27.5. Trulli and Glock pick up 5th and 6th with 19.5 and 13 points respectively, Rosberg sandwiched with 11.5 ahead of Massa and Alonso with 11 points apiece. With seven out of seventeen races completed, the Brawn GP team holds a commanding 96 points in the constructors' championship ahead of Red Bull's 56.5, Toyota's 32.5 and Ferrari's 20. Watch this space in two weeks' time as the circus heads back to the old school for the British Grand Prix from Silverstone.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Brawn Gp ; It was bombshell !
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its ironical that whenever someone's dominating a season, Barrichello is the loser teammate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not a bad race. Not one of the most exciting, but there was some action.

      Red Bull seemingly got away with giving team orders.

      How many more firsts before Button is a lock?

      Kinda funny they got rid of the "Schumacher scoring" system this year because we didn't have one driver dominating anymore and now we do again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh, I guess I should also mention the camera work wasn't any good this week. I can't remember it being this bad since the when the Japanese TV network ran the coverage in Japan and only showed Sato for half the race despite him not really contending.

        Note this isn't Speed/FOX's fault, they just take the coverage they get. The Speed announcers are just sitting in a room watching the race on TV like we are.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah those team orders were pretty obvious. Vettel would probably have taken Webber but i guess they did not want Webber's aggressive style to take out both cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't like this stretch of 4 races per year on FOX , or worse than that CBS when they had it, but it's in the contract so we have to live with it. Everything is jammed and editied into that two hour time slot. No meaningful post race interviews, no grid walk, etc.

      On to the race, I don't think Vettel had anything for Button even if he had not run wide in turn 10 on the first lap. The three stop strategy just seemed to make things worse. I also agree with the commentators saying that Vettel was faster than Webber towards the end but he was basically ordered to stay behind. Maybe the Red Bull brain trust was not too trustworthy that Vettel could pass without taking out both Red Bull cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bloody hell, you guys are quicker than usual.
      • 5 Years Ago
      why is this as some people say on time im watching on fox you guys should not have put this up here while the race is still airing on fox thanks a lot.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can start with spelling and punctuation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Way to read, buddy. I'm impressed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        did i need to right sarcasm?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone know what other races this year will be shown on Fox? They look so much better in HD!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The race was not in HD. It was just 16:9 SD. The only thing in HD resolution is the FOX sports logo.

        Real HD looks a heck of a lot better than what you just saw.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Except I don't get SpeedHD. I also want to alert my brother, who canceled his cable to cut costs, to what's on regular broadcast.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Everyone says that this is one of the most exciting F1 seasons because the usual crews aren't winning. In my opinion, this is one of the most boring seasons of F1 because only one team is dominating. At least the usual suspects (Ferrari, McLaren, BMW) would make for interesting races and have some awesome fights for 1st place. I'm sorry, but I get a little bored when I know Jenson is already going to win just from watching the first lap and there is nothing anyone else can do. It has been like this for the past 6 out of 7 races. I have nothing against him, and the more power to him for winning these races. He is a great driver. It's not as if I would expect him to purposefully lose. Of course he is going to go all out. I just blame Brawn's domination on the FIA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        For about 7 races.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Personally, exciting or not, I love seeing the blank white & lime cars flying around in front of everyone.

        And STR in 3rd & 4th is also awesome to see.

        The little guys are really sticking it to Ferrari & McLaren.

        I'd bet Mercedes is very happy to see someone else doing well with their engines, because we all know how the McL/MB relactionship worked out.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Just for future reference the main Red Bull team is abbreviated as RBR (Red Bull Renault) whereas the Red Bull team with Ferrari engines is STR (Scuderia Toro Rosso). I only mention it because STR sucks hard and have gotten nowhere near 3rd and 4th.

        I agree though that this is not a terribly exciting series. It's got a great story behind it but that's about it. To be fair, the Brawn car is absurdly good in ways that aren't apparent to some. It doesn't eat tires, its got a pretty stable rear and despite overheating concerns a little babying really helps the engine out.

        That said, the way to fix the domination of any team is simple: make F1 less of a spec series and allow track testing between GPs. Williams, Ferrari, Toyota, BMW and Red Bull could be giving Brawn a real run for their money right now if they could take their parts development outside of the wind tunnel and simulator. Besides, isn't this all supposed to be about innovation anyways?
        • 5 Years Ago

        • 5 Years Ago
        Sam, last year Kubica was in the title race
      • 5 Years Ago
      Another good points haul for Brawn, Red Bull and Toyota whom comfortably occupy the TOP 3 spots respectively.

      Well done to Mark Webber who is Australian but the team i support (Toyota) also had a good run particularly from Jarno Truill who finished 4th - would have better if he finshed on the podium ... oh well !!

      Next race at Silverstone (UK) in two weeks ... GO TOYOTA !!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not the most exciting race I've seen but not bad. I absolutely detest having to wait until 3:00 PM to watch the race though. I'd also like to see a few other winners. Maybe Trulli, Alonso or something freakish like maybe a BMW or a red car on the top step would start to make things interesting. I so like seeing the Davids take it to the Goliaths though.
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