Alas the 2020 Formula One season enters its final four races beginning with what I feel is a fan favourite, and as F1 returns to Turkey, we rewind back to the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix.
F1 has visited Istanbul, Turkey since 2011 but we are revisiting the 2010 race which saw Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull all going head-to-head for the driver and constructor titles, as Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber jointly led the championship on 78 points apiece, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button who were three and eight points behind.
Red Bull also entered the race with a 20 point lead over Ferrari with Webber admitting pre practice on what would prove to be a a huge weekend that he was “still wary of our rivals.”
Many teams brought upgrades for this race with Red Bull and Ferrari particularly focused on their F-duct systems whilst Vettel received a new Red Bull chassis amongst many improvements throughout the grid.
Lewis Hamilton topped the opening practice session with a 1m 28.653 which was 0.962 seconds quicker than Button in a McLaren one-two ahead of Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg with Vettel and Webber finding themselves fifth and eighth in a Renault sandwich of Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov.
HRT’s Bruno Senna sat out the opening session with Sakon Yamamoto participating in his place as part of his reserve driver programme, although the session was curtailed with two minutes left after Force India’s Adrian Sutil spun at Turn Eight to send the German crashing into the barriers.
Button meanwhile proceeded to top FP2 with a 1m 28.280 which was just 0.098s quicker than Vettel with Webber and Hamilton rounding out the top four, despite Webber suffering an engine failure.
Vettel however topped FP3 with a 1m 27.086 which was 1.994s quicker than Button’s best FP2 time as the Brit finished that session eighth fastest as Rosberg, Hamilton, Webber and Kubica rounded out the top five heading into Qualifying.
Alongside the usual suspects of Lotus, Virgin and HRT drivers, Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi was the last Q1 exit, missing out on Q2 by 0.424s to Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi.
Both Toro Rosso cars eventually sandwiched Williams’ Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg amongst the Q2 exits as Buemi qualified 14th on the grid ahead of Barrichello, teammate – Jaime Alguersuari and Hulkenberg, whilst Alonso was a shock Q2 casualty in 12th sandwiching Sutil and Pedro De La Rosa.
Vettel meanwhile topped Q1 and Q2 but could only qualify third when it mattered due to a roll bar failure, allowing Webber to take pole with a 1m 1m 26.295 ahead of Hamilton and Vettel as Button qualified fourth following a set up error.
Schumacher outqualified Rosberg as Mercedes locked out the third row whilst Kubica and Petrov qualified seventh and ninth with Felipe Massa in between the Renault teammates, as Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the top ten.
Webber made a great start from pole to hold position to lead Red Bull teammate, Vettel who had passed Hamilton for second after the Brit suffered wheelspin and had to avoid using his second clutch.
Hamilton however had repassed Vettel into turn three for second whilst Schumacher got ahead of Button into fourth before the then reigning champion regained his position at Turn 12.
Webber meanwhile soon found himself under pressure from Hamilton by lap three as the McLaren forced Webber into a series of defensive moves across the following laps on the run to Turn 12 with better straight-line speed.
Webber, Hamilton and Vettel soon began to trade fastest laps until Hamilton was forced to switch engine modes in order to reduce the fuel usage alongside Button.
Vettel pitted at the end of lap 14 whilst Button stayed out in an unsuccessful attempt to undercut Vettel whilst Webber and Hamilton made their stops on lap 16, of which the latter slipped behind Vettel due to a slow pit stop by the McLaren pit crew.
Both Lotus cars of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen meanwhile retired on laps 33 and 34 respectively with hydraulic issues before on lap 39, Webber requested that Red Bull tell Vettel to slow down but this request was rejected due to both McLaren cars closing in.
Webber soon began to switch to fuel saving at the start of lap 40, whilst Vettel opted for a fast mode and rapidly reeled in the Australian, drawing alongside Webber out of Turn 11 but the pair touched to send Vettel into a double spin with a tyre puncture to end his race.
Hamilton consequently inherited the lead ahead of Button as Webber carried on with damage before pitting at the end of lap 41 for new tyres and a front wing, although victory was gone barring a dramatic twist of events that swung in Webber’s favour.
McLaren however courted controversy on lap 44 by telling Hamilton to save fuel with a target time whereas Button was told to just save fuel but without a target lap time to stick to.
Button ultimately took full advantage as he passed Hamilton for the lead into Turn 12 on lap 48 but his teammate hit straight back into the opening corner of the next lap, reclaiming the lead which he held to the flag by 2.645s.
Webber came home in third ahead of Schumacher, Rosberg, Kubica, Massa, Alonso, Sutil and Kobayashi, whilst HRT duo of Senna and Karun Chandhok retired in the closing laps with fuel related issues.
In regards to the title fight, Webber now sat top by five points from Button with Hamilton a further four points behind, albeit five points clear of Alonso who moved a point clear of Vettel as the German slipped from joint title-leader to fifth.
McLaren meanwhile took the lead of the constructor battle from Red Bull by a single point after clinching their second of three one-two finishes in 2010 season, as Ferrari sat third ahead of Mercedes and Renault.