Istanbul, home of the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia and a really stonking good racetrack. Yes, Hermann Tilke designed it but we really can’t hold that against it. It is an amazing track, one of my favorites in fact. And it is definitely On The List of races to see live and in person someday.
Mark Webber of Red Bull was on pole yet again. Really, this is getting tiresome. But, Lewis Hamilton was second in his McLaren. Sebastian Vettel lined up third in the other Red Bull. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso was in p12, and Hamilton’s girlfriend and newly crowned Dancing With the Stars Champion Nicole Scherzinger was in the McLaren garage cheering for her man.
It was a clean start and Vettel got around Hamilton for second in the first turn but Hamilton got it back soon after, and the three of them quickly pulled away from the rest of the pack along with Jenson Button in the second McLaren.
It was a really good race. There was dicing, there was overtaking up and down the line, and there was just the tiniest bit of rain. Frankly, I could have lived without the rain but nobody asked me, and besides the drivers never even had to change to the rain tires so it was no big deal.
Of course, the big news, the biggest news of all happened on lap 38. Mark Webber was leading, and Sebastian Vettel was close behind. I turned to Tom and asked him hypothetically, “If you were in charge at Red Bull would you let Vettel take a run at passing Webber, or tell him to chill out?” Tom said he thought you would have to tell Vettel to hold his position. I agreed. At just that moment though, Vettel apparently had other plans. He tried to pass Webber in turn 12 and kablammo! They collided. Vettel went spinning off the track! Webber sustained some damage but managed to limp into the pits and get back out in third place. Now McLaren were running first and second! Wow.
One of the first unwritten rules of Formula 1 is don’t take yourself or your teammate out of the race, and that is exactly what Vettel did. There are, however some differing opinions regarding who is at fault. Red Bull ‘s powers that be have said Webber should have moved over. Frankly, I don’t think Vettel had the room to make the pass and he shouldn’t have tried it.
Vettel’s actions and Red Bull’s reaction are very interesting. It looks like the team is backing Vettel, despite the fact that Webber is leading the race for the World Driver’s Championship. I suspect things are about to get ugly at Red Bull. This has the potential to make the Alonso vs. Hamilton situation in 2007 look like a playground fight at your local preschool. The next two weeks are going to be very interesting. I would love to be a fly on the wall at the Red Bull Racing headquarters.
So Lewis Hamilton won, Jenson Button came in second and Mark Webber managed to salvage third.
The next race is in Montreal. And I will be there live and in person. I am so excited I can hardly stand it.