Ultra-Delayed Race Notes: Turkish Grand Prix 2009

[Preface – Due to accountancy studies I fell behind with the editing of these posts which meant they couldn’t be posted, however I still took the notes live in the usual way. The notes here were written, albeit in a very rough form, during the live BBC coverage save for the race result and points. I’ve edited for readability reasons only. Anything in italics in square brackets, just like this, I have written during the edit.]

2009 Formula 1 ING Turkish Grand Prix
Circuit: Istanbul Park
Location: Somewhere outside Istanbul, Turkey
Distance: 58 laps

Coverage: BBC One / BBC Radio 5 Live[*]
Anchor: Jake Humphrey
Analysts in the paddock: David Coulthard (DC) and Eddie Jordan (EJ)

Race commentary: Jonathan Legard (Ledgy) and Martin Brundle
Pit and paddock reports:
Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie

Alternative commentary[*]: David Croft (Crofty) and Anthony Davidson (Ant)
Alternative pitlane[*]: Holly Samos

Tyre selection (red): SS / S / M / H

[*for many years the BBC has held the UK radio rights to F1. In ’09 they also picked up the TV rights and they now offer an alternate feed on digital television, combining TV pics with radio commentary. I experimented with this for the Turkish GP because I was getting so irritated with Jonathan Legard on the main feed]

BBC coverage is a GO at 12.10pm BST (2.10pm Turkish local time) with 50 minutes until race start.

Montage… “everyone wants overtaking in F1, and Turkey always delivers”

Joining Jake live and he’s walking and talking in the pitlane!
Quick chat with EJ and DC in the McLaren pit. I’m not really paying attention – I’ll do you a favour and skip these sections.
Points recap: Button has a mega lead over team-mate Barrichello. Nobody else in with a shot.
And the teams? Brawn have TWICE as many points as RBR in 2nd. The rest? Forget it.


Qualifying recap with Ted
The Prodigy as the backing track!
Spins from Renault, BMW happier because they have a Brawn-like diffuser now.
Ted says the teams fighting for the win here are Red Bull and Brawn (no, you don’t say!).

Rubens is 3rd but is ok with it:
“I actually prefer 1st because it is on the clean side and ahead, but if I had between 2nd and 3rd I think 3rd is better.”

Jenson, P2:
“It’s tough from P2, I’ve got Rubens in P3 which is a much cleaner line. There’s only one race a year here, this weekend, the inside of the grid is dirty but we’ll make the best of it.”

Vettel, pole:
“We have done a good job today with pole on the clean side of the track, that’s an advantage. No KERS car behind us this time, it’s all looking good.”

Start order:
Vettel, Button, Barrichello, Webber, Trulli, Räikkönen, Massa, Alonso, Rosberg, Kubica, Heidfeld, Nakajima, Glock, Kovalainen, Sutil, Hamilton, Piquet, Buemi, Fisichella, Bourdais

I do love the little flavours of local colour and culture between segments. Just 10 or 15 seconds with a little backing track, but they add so much to your understanding of the host location.

Massa sit-down interview with Jake.
– Disappointed with qualifying in Malaysia, says the track improved massively.
– some stuff about supporting the team, usual racing driver stuff [err yeah, hindsight alert!]
– Turn 8 is a big strain on the neck.
– I think we are in the fight.

Stefano Domenicali talking about FOTA and other stuff.
[I have removed this for brevity and because the politics was boring then and boring now]

I like Stefano. He’s open and cooperative, this was quite a long chat with the BBC guys – all three of the guys.

Onboard lap. Martin Brundle voicing Vettel’s lap and comparing his approach to Button’s!
Vettel is nailing every apex, Button is having to hesitate slightly.

Jakes says the pitlane is “very confusing” because the cars are going the other direction to previous races. Anti-clockwise track. Heading out to the track.
Whoa, a BBC man grabs Jake and pulls him back JUST BEFORE a Toyota runs him over!

Some chatter before Martin joins them for his gridwalk.


Gridwalk with Martin and David

They are sat down on the front of the grid talking about how difficult turn 1 is here because you can’t see it, the track dips down and the apex is out of sight. You spend the weekend hitting the 100m mark for practice, qualifying, and suddenly a race start you’ve got 20 cars aiming for the same place.

“52C track temperature, it’s going to be interesting. The most important thing is to be quick and go.”
Button in a ‘cool suit’: “I’ve watched the GP2 and other races and position 2 seems okay, not too bad.” Talks about the difficulties of turn 8. 3rd is a reasonable result, going for the win but he’d be happy with 3rd.
Randomly, Naomi Campbell arrives and kisses Button on both cheeks, then DC who asks her who she’s supporting:
NC “I’ve very happy, England, hahaha”
DC “You’re going for Jenson then?”
NC “I said England, haha”
DC “Good stuff, enjoy”
Apparently she also supports the freebie champagne… or something you injest nasally…

Zipping around the grid.. finds Vettel? Can you win your first dry GP?
“Yep, sure.” Strategy? “I have a stop immediately now, I need the toilet now. Hoping for a good start and defend it from there.”

Massa: “Will be difficult. Webber is a possibility on race pace, I hope we can be strong in the race than we were in qualifying.”

Turkish anthem rings out as we talk to Ross Brawn. Seems we aren’t stopping for it this time.
Brawn talking more on FOTA, politics, all that rubbish.


Strategy update: Button would be on pole after adjusting qual times for fuel load, he has 2 more laps than Red Bull. Alonso is the lightest and will stop on lap 14. Hamilton is very heavy.

Grid Reminder

Vettel (pole), Button
Barrichello, Webber
Trulli, Räikkönen
Massa, Alonso
Rosberg, Kubica
Heidfeld, Nakajima
Glock, Kovalainen
Sutil, Hamilton
Piquet, Buemi
Fisichella, Bourdais

Engines running. Mechanics clear. Green lights. I’m switching to the alternative audio feed.

Formation Lap

Button lines up funny.…GO!

Button leads!
Rubens slow
Trulli ahead of Webber!
Rosberg passes Massa
Kimi vs Alonso
Trulli vs Webber
Turn 8 at speed!
Rubens takes Heidi

Kubica is chasing Alonso who has fallen back.

There is a nosecone waiting in the Ferrari pit, but Kimi doesn’t need it.
Kimi radio:

“I lost a little part of the front wing on the left hand side I think.”

L3 Rubens tries it on Heikki but can’t make it here.

Things have settled down so we are being shown replays of the start:
A Williams touches a BMW in t1.
Rubens very slow away.

L4 Fisi pits with a suspected brake problem.

L5 Positions: Button, Vettel, Webber, Trulli, Rosberg, Massa, Alonso, Kubica, Raikkonen, Nakajima, Kova, Barr, Glock, Hei, Sut, Piq, Ham, Bue, Bou.
Fisichella has officially retired according the timing screen.

Barrichello passes Kovalainen at the last turn, but Heikki uses KERS to get an instant 80hp boost to retake the position on the main straight and into t1!

Rubens tries it again halfway around the lap and spins, he’s now behind Glock, Heidfeld, Sutil, Piquet and Hamilton as well.

Holly: Rubens’ anti-stall kicked in at the start.

L9 Rubens re-takes Hamilton.

L10 Tweet from @clubforce

“fisi in the garage at the moment with a brake problem. trying to get it out again for the rest of the race”

@clubforce is the Force India team official twitter feed and by far the most verbose of the F1 teams that tweet during the race (all two of them).

Piquet locks up his brakes and allows Rubens through.

L12 Rubens radio – he’s lost 7th gear!

Fisi says he’s out.
Sutil and Barrichello touch, Rubens has damaged his front wing. Rubens is very frustrated right now and trying too hard.

L13 Rubens pits for a new wing.
L14 Alonso pits, and Crofty says he was predicted to pit now. I’m shocked, a pit prediction is proven RIGHT!

L15 JB sets FL. Vettel pits and he’s out in 6th.
@clubforce tells us Fisi has retired from the race.

L16 Trulli pits and is out in 9th.

L17 Button and Massa pit. Button beats Vettel by some margin! Button has more fuel than Vettel too..

L18 Webber pits from his inherited lead, Rosberg follows him in. Long stop for Webber, he’s out just behind Kubica. Raikkonen also pits. Lots of brake dust from Rosberg’s car.

L19 Kovalainen pits from 8th.
Kubica, Nakajima, Glock, Heidfeld, Sutil, Piquet and Hamilton are yet to stop.

L20 Kubica pits, so does Sutil.

L21 A fairly light Hamilton passes a recently-pitted Raikkonen. Kimi isn’t looking quick right now.

L23 Top ten: Button, Vettel, Webber, Naka*, Rosberg, Trulli, Glock*, Massa, Heidfeld*, Kubica
* not pitted

Speculation on 5Live that Vettel has switched to a 3-stop, if so Vettel is screwed because he’s close behind Button and being held up.

L25 Vettel is RIGHT BEHIND Button! He’s in the dirty air which is costing him, but he is faster than Jenson.

Replay of Glock passing Trulli for 6th. Glock has yet to pit.
L26 Nakajima pits.

L28 Heidfeld pits for his first stop. Some people’s second stops may be due soon.

L29 Vettel pits. He is on a three-stopper. Ant calls it as Webber finishing 2nd and Vettel 3rd because of this strategy. Vettel takes hard tyres.

Half distance

L30 Glock makes his first stop.
Nice use of the map graphic for this race! We get a good idea of the time gap as it is on the road, between the top three cars, which is really useful when they aren’t in the same TV shot.

31 laps gone and 27 remain, we’re over halfway now and nobody has been lapped! Amazing!

L32 Hamilton pits and is out alongside Piquet, and passes him… for 17th!

Bourdais pits.

L33 Piquet alongside Hamilton!! They are side by side through the final complex and Piquet makes the pass! Holy cow who woke him up?! This is the GP2-spec Piquet of old who actually raced people! More of this please, Nelson.

L34 Button leads by 17.9sec from Webber who is 8.6 ahead of Vettel. Button is the fastest car on track. He’s got the warp drive locked on, let’s look elsewhere..

L37 Hamilton, Buemi and Bourdais have been lapped by Button now – and Buemi passes Hamilton. What is going on with Lewis?

L38 Barrichello pits from 14th, this is his scheduled stop. He was heavily delayed [not as much as these notes] with that start and then the new front wing.

Nico Rosberg is running 4th! He’s faster than Vettel by 0.1s/lap and only 5.5sec behind. Ah – he’s just pitted, he was setting fast in-laps. He kicks off the second round of stops for the 2-stoppers.

L41 Rubens’ stop put him a lap behind, he should get that lap back when Jenson stops.

L42 Massa pits from 5th.
L43 Button pits, so does Webber. Kovalainen and Buemi are in the pits as the leaders come in, they should exit ahead of the leaders to remain unlapped for now. Trulli in from 4th.

Vettel is up to 2nd again but he’ll lose that to Webber on his third stop.

Trouble for Nakajima, Williams guys had trouble with the ‘spinners’ on his front tyre. I’ve never liked those things.

L48 Vettel pits for his final stop, just as Rubens Barrichello pits the car to retire.

L50 Vettel is now 2.5s behind Webber and closing fast. Glock is only 0.8s behind Kubica and gradually catching. These are the closest fights with only 8 laps to go.

L52 RBR lap times have stabilised, only a tenth difference now between cars.

4 to go: Vettel gets told by the team to save the car, Mark is faster. Timing says they are about the same but I think this is to make sure they don’t take each other out!

3 to go: Vettel sets a purple sector 1! A message to Webber or the team?

Final lap. Hamilton gets lapped again – he unlapped himself earlier with his one-stop strategy.

Chequered Flag – Jenson Button wins!!
Webber 2nd, Vettel 3rd

Vettel didn’t say a word to the team on the radio when they were telling him how he got ‘stuck behind Webber’.


British national anthem for Button and Brawn.

Interesting trophies, they look heavy..

Vettel looks like he’s forcing a smile. On pole, was fast in the race but only got 3rd.

[at some point here we go back to main feed]

Chat with Brawn:

“Looking forward to Britain, lots of fans. Problem with Rubens’ gearbox, he would have had a great race for sure.”


Jenson Button, Winner:

“I don’t know if this sort of circuit suits our car more than others, but the car was fantastic today. Wish I could have all the boys on the podium. They all deserve to be there.”

Peter Windsor, moderator:

“Well done, equalling Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher in winning the first six of seven races.”

Mark Webber, P2:

“We managed to go a lap longer and save fuel, we knew the podium was taken just deciding between myself and Sebastian. I did enough damage in the middle stint to jump Sebastian, then we turned the engine down to the end.”

Sebastian Vettel, P3

“It worked out okay at the start then nearly lost the car, my mistake, all race was difficult I think there was a little tailwind, it was quite tricky. Jenson was just too quick today so I don’t think we could have held him anyway. I thought we were switching to 2 stop, we did not, then we were in traffic to Jenson because of his heavy fuel load. It turned out the 3 stop was not as quick as the 2 stop, I am not happy but we can be very satisfied to take 2nd and 3rd.”

Wow, mega-long conference coverage, much appreciated!
Back to the BBC guys. Replay of Lewis Hamilton’s opening lap.

Lewis Hamilton (13th):

“I really enjoyed the race despite being all the way back, I pushed and pushed and pushed, that’s why I’m smiling because I fulfilled my potential. This car isn’t going to win but I’m going to keep pushing anyway, let’s knuckle down and concentrate on bringing it back, especially for next year. Looking forward to see the fans (at Silverstone). I’m really, really happy for Jenson and wish him luck.”

Trulli (4th):

“I’m really happy, we pusehd hard, we had a good setup. I am an experience driver and I never give up, I am always positive. I have to praise the team because they have worked really hard. The season is long and we have to keep pushing for updates every time.”

Rosberg (5th):

“We pushed 100% through to try and beat Trulli, unfortunately it wasn’t possible, (..) he was too fast for us. Still 5th place is good for us, beat both Ferraris, it’s good. If we managed to keep up the development with the other teams and score one point and then another every race that’d be great!”

Race Result

Driver Gap Pts
1 Button 58 laps 10
2 Webber 6.7sec 8
3 Vettel 7.4sec 6
4 Trulli 27.8sec 5
5 Rosberg 31.5sec 4
6 Massa 39.9sec 3
7 Kubica 46.2sec 2
8 Glock 46.9sec 1
9 Räikkönen 50.2sec
10 Alonso 62.4sec
11 Heidfeld 64.3sec
12 Nakajima 66.3sec
13 Hamilton 80.4sec
14 Kovalainen 1 lap
15 Buemi 1 lap
16 Piquet 1 lap
17 Sutil 1 lap
18 Bourdais 1 lap
DNF Barrichello gearbox
DNF Fisichella brakes

Drivers Championship

Driver Prior TUR Total
1 Button 51 +10 61
2 Barrichello 35 35
3 Vettel 23 +6 29
4 Webber 19.5 +8 27.5
5 Trulli 14.5 +5 19.5
6 Glock 12 +1 13
7 Rosberg 7.5 +4 11.5
8 Alonso 11 11
9 Massa 8 +3 11
10 Hamilton 9 9
11 Räikkönen 9 9
12 Heidfeld 6 6
13 Kovalainen 4 4
14 Buemi 3 3
15 Bourdais 2 2
16 Kubica 0 +2 2

Constructors Championship

Team Prior TUR Total
1 Brawn 86 +10 96
2 Red Bull 36.5 +14 50.5
3 Toyota 32.5 +6 38.5
4 Ferrari 14 +3 17
5 McLaren 13 13
6 Williams 7.5 +4 11.5
7 Renault 11 11
8 BMW 6 +2 8
9 Toro Rosso 5 5
10 Force India 0 0

That’s it from Turkey! See you soon for the next one.
[I hope to sort out the next set of notes at the weekend to get as caught up as possible in time for Valencia]