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Istanbul form card - Feature - F1 | ITV Sport

Istanbul form card
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 00:00

Red Bull is on a roll heading into round seven of the season in Turkey and Mark Webber is the man of the moment, having dominated the past two races and drawn level with team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the top of the drivers' table.

Can the competition strike back on the flowing Istanbul Park circuit, or will we see more of the same? We assess the form of the entire 24-man field.

1. Jenson Button (GB) - McLaren

Championship position: 4th, 70 points

The world champion has been toppled from the head of the points standings since F1’s return to Europe and can justifiability point to dashboard problems in Spain, and a pesky radiator bung in Monaco, as the reasons why he is eight points adrift of the Red Bull pair, rather than just a handful. Still, he would have signed for this position at the start of the season and will just now hope that changes to the MP4-25 to suit his driving style allow him to find some more outright pace.

Last five race results: R / 5th / 1st / 8th / 1st
(most recent first)

2. Lewis Hamilton (GB) - McLaren

Championship position: 7th, 59 points

For a man who thrives on the unique challenge of Monte Carlo, a “boring” afternoon spent circling behind a Ferrari in fifth place didn’t exactly light Lewis’s fire last time out. But, given the up-and-down season he’s had so far, a dull cruise-and-collect race on a weekend McLaren struggled wasn’t an altogether bad thing. He’s currently further off the title pace than his main rivals, but if McLaren can at least repeat its Barcelona form then that should change – even if the Red Bulls, for now at least, may continue to pull away.

Last five race results: 5th / R / 2nd / 6th / 6th

3. Michael Schumacher (D) - Mercedes

Championship position: 9th, 22 points

A Schumacher controversy – now that’s more like it, Michael. Of course, this time it was hard not to feel sympathy for the seven-time champion after what seemed like a great piece of opportunism when he snuck ahead of Alonso on the last lap in Monaco. It may have cost him what had been a hard-earned haul of points in the end, but it showed the doubters few cobwebs now remain. The return of the longer wheelbased W01 for Turkey should help him continue his progress from Barcelona.

Last five race results: 12th / 4th / 10th / R / 10th

4. Nico Rosberg (D) - Mercedes

Championship position: 8th, 56 points

Not for the first time in his career, promising Monaco pace failed to translate into a stellar result in the Principality for Nico whose hopes were dashed when he tumbled from the Q2 summit to sixth on the grid in no time at all. To compound matters he then slipped behind Schumacher at the start, only getting ahead when the stewards had their say on his team-mate’s last-corner antics post-race. Can he now get to grips with the revised W01 better than he did in Spain?

Last five race results: 7th / 13th / 3rd / 3rd / 5th

5. Sebastian Vettel (D) - Red Bull

Championship position: 2nd, 78 points

Red Bull’s main man in the flyaway rounds, Vettel has suddenly found himself searching for answers after being comprehensively put in the shade by team-mate Webber at the last two races. The first of those seems to have resulted in a change of chassis, after a defect was found on the one he used in Monaco. On the plus side of course, consecutive podiums have meant he’s finally reached the championship points summit. Webber will know a response is imminent.

Last five race results: 2nd / 3rd / 6th / 1st / R

6. Mark Webber (AUS) - Red Bull

Championship position: 1st, 78 points

Had Webber just come back from seeing a fortune teller when he told journalists prior to Barcelona that one win was all it was going to take to turn his season around? A dominant win in Spain was followed by even more dominance in Monaco, while rumours his position at RBR in 2011 was under threat from Raikkonen turned into suggestions Ferrari is eyeing him up to replace Massa. The Aussie knows the F1 world can be a fickle place however and you can bet he’s just concentrating on keeping the momentum going in Turkey.

Last five race results: 1st / 1st / 8th / 2nd / 9th

7. Felipe Massa (BRA) - Ferrari

Championship position: 5th, 61 points

A solid fourth place in Monaco was the kind of performance Massa had been needing following a series of disappointing races since Bahrain – but many were still wondering after the race what Alonso could have achieved in the F10 had he not written his chassis off in practice. Ferrari may not be as competitive in Turkey, but Istanbul Park is Massa country and the three-time winner could really do with being ahead of Alonso on pure pace there.

Last five race results: 4th / 6th / 4th / 7th / 3rd

8. Fernando Alonso (ESP) - Ferrari

Championship position: 3rd, 75 points

Unusually Alonso’s been making it hard for himself this season with first-corner tangles, jump-starts and final practice shunts, but incredibly he remains just three points adrift of the championship lead. Monaco may go down as a big missed opportunity yet Ferrari’s sharp early pit call, and his own incisive passes, rescued a positive result in the end ahead of a period of the season the Spaniard expects Ferrari to make big progress in.

Last five race results: 6th / 2nd / 4th / 13th / 4th

9. Rubens Barrichello (BRA) - Williams

Championship position: 12th, 7 points

Williams had appeared to make a step forward in Monaco and Barrichello was running along quite nicely before a loose manhole wrecked his car’s left-rear wheel and sent him ricocheting violently between the barriers at Beau Rivage. The Brazilian will hope that improvement translates to the Istanbul Park aero-test and he won’t be in for a repeat of his dismal Q1 Barcelona exit.

Last five race results: R / 9th/ 12th / 12th / 8th

10. Nico Hulkenberg (D) - Williams

Championship position: 16th, 1 point

As first laps go, the German rookie’s wasn’t the best in Monaco. After a clutch problem dropped him from 11th on the grid to the back of the field, damage sustained to his front wing in first corner contact sent him careering onto a nasty, 160-mph, collision course with the tunnel barriers. The latest disappointment may have been hard to take, but his qualifying performance suggested progress is being made.

Last five race results: R / 16th / 15th / 10th / R

11. Robert Kubica (POL) - Renault

Championship position: 6th, 59 points

Webber ran him close, but Kubica was the star of F1’s blue-riband event as he really made Red Bull work for its latest 1-2. Had he managed to claim pole, he could even have won it. He’s not expecting to repeat that kind of form until Canada, however, although such is his current level of performance and Renault’s consistent improvement he could still give the bottom end of the top four a run for their money this weekend, even if Istanbul Park won’t be as kind to the R30

Last five race results: 3rd / 8th / 5th / 4th / 2nd

12. Vitaly Petrov (RUS) - Renault

Championship position: 13th, 6 points

With all eyes on the lead Renault in Monaco, Petrov’s weekend adventures largely went unnoticed – apart from when he wrecked a few people’s Q2 laps when he crashed into the tyre barriers at Ste Devote. A puncture then compromised his race performance before he was forced to retire with a problem at the rear of his car. Team boss Eric Boullier says the Russian has learned from his Monaco travails and has backed him to turn his undoubted promise into more consistent results.

Last five race results: R / 11th / 7th / R / R

14. Adrian Sutil (D) - Force India

Championship position: 10th, 20 points

Sutil didn’t need rain in Monaco this year to demonstrate his talents to the full around the tight Monte Carlo streets with tight and twisty circuits no longer holding the fear they once did for Force India. He had to overcome the disappointment of missing out on Q3, however, before finishing ahead of Liuzzi on the road on race day. Expect the points-paying service to continue in Turkey.

Last five race results: 8th / 7th / 11th / 5th / R

15. Tonio Liuzzi (I) - Force India

Championship position: 11th, 10 points

After a depressing run of qualifying disappointments and race retirements, Liuzzi desperately needed a strong Monaco weekend and he duly delivered, showing Sutil up in qualifying to make Q3 and then finishing ninth. The fact his team-mate managed to finish ahead of him irked him somewhat though, Liuzzi feeling the team pitted him too early. His season now needs some consistency if those di Resta rumours are to go away.

Last five race results: 9th / R / R / R / 7th

16. Sebastien Buemi (CH) - Toro Rosso

Championship position: 15th, 1 point

If anyone needed a change of luck in 2010 it was Buemi and, thanks to some strict post-race reading of the rulebook by the stewards, that’s what he got in Monaco as Schumacher’s demotion moved him up from 11th to the final points position. With Toro Rossos’s STR5 still largely based on last year’s aerodynamically-superior RB5, consecutive points finishes could be on the cars in Turkey.

Last five race results: 10th / R / R / 11th / R

17. Jaime Alguersuari (ESP) - Toro Rosso

Championship position: 14th, 3 points

The Spaniard’s Monaco debut in F1 machinery was pretty much one to forget as a qualifying struggle condemned him to 78 laps of follow-my-leader in the midfield wilderness. Istanbul Park represents another new track for him but, prior to Monaco, recent form has suggested he will take well to the latest challenge.

Last five race results: 17th / 10th / 13th / 9th / 11th

18. Jarno Trulli (I) - Lotus

Championship position: 22nd, 0 points

The Italian veteran’s 2010 Monaco weekend was largely memorable for the wrong reasons. Firstly, it witnessed the first time in his 14-year F1 career he had been outqualified there by a team-mate and the second for perhaps the most over-ambitious overtaking attempt of the season so far which only succeeded in him pitching his car over the top of Karun Chandhok’s head at Rascasse. Istanbul can only get better.

Last five race results: 15th / 17th / R / 17th / R

19. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) - Lotus

Championship position: 19th, 0 points

Kovalainen continues to be the most impressive of the new teams’ drivers and he and the team took great encouragement from the fact he was able to keep Renault’s Petrov in sight in the early stages in Monaco before a steering problem forced his Lotus out. Istanbul Park will naturally expose the T127’s downforce flaws to a greater extent, but Kovy will continue to get the best out of it.

Last five race results: R / DNF / 14th / R / 13th

20. Karun Chandhok (IND) - Hispania

Championship position: 20th, 0 points

The Indian was thoroughly annoyed to have been taken out late-on in Monaco by Trulli just as he was about to finish at the head of the new teams’ class on the road. Nevertheless this didn’t stop him describing the race as one of the best of his life… indeed it’s hard to see how this might be topped in Turkey with three days of man-handling the evil-handling HRT car through the triple-apex turn eight to come.

Last five race results: 14th / R / 17th / 15th / 14th

21. Bruno Senna (BRA) - Hispania

Championship position: 23rd, 0 points

The return of the Senna family name to the Monaco F1 grid was always going to be a symbolic moment for many in the sport and, while he currently only has the machinery to fight at the back of the field, Bruno performed commendably before a late hydraulic problem struck. For this weekend, his pre-race prediction that Turkey’s “combination of bumps and high-speed corners will make it challenging for our car” is set to prove something of an understatement…

Last five race results: R / R / 16th / 16th / R

22. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) - Sauber

Championship position: 17th, 0 points

The hard results in de la Rosa’s comeback season continue to lurch from the woeful to the, well, woeful; his fifth retirement out of six coming in Monaco after more hydraulic trouble. In truth, the weekend wasn’t offering much for Sauber with the C29 not happy in the track’s slow corners – something that the team is confident shouldn’t be the case in Turkey. Could de la Rosa’s first finish since Australia coincide with Sauber’s first points?

Last five race results: R / R / R / R / 12th

23. Kamui Kobayashi (J) - Sauber

Championship position: 18th, 0 points

It was back to the old routine for Kobayashi in Monaco as a gearbox problem before mid-distance scuppered any outside hope he had of opening Sauber’s points account. Things should be a lot better in Turkey, however, and Kobayashi’s Barcelona qualifying performance showed he could be the man to start turning their season around.

Last five race results: R / 12th / R / R / R

24. Timo Glock (D) - Virgin

Championship position: 24th, 0 points

After leading the team’s long-overdue first double car finish at Barcelona, Glock again failed to see the chequered flag last time out after the rear suspension on his VR-01 failed. The German, like former Toyota team-mate Jarno Trulli at Lotus, is having to deal with plenty of frustrations, but still appears very much up for the challenge.

Last five race results: R / 18th / R / R / R

25. Lucas di Grassi (BRA) – Virgin

Championship position: 21st, 0 points

The Brazilian rookie firmly got up Fernando Alonso’s nose in the early stages of the race in Monaco when, seemingly to the Spanish star’s surprise, he didn’t simply park his Virgin on the side of the track and let the Ferrari driver proceed with his race day charge unhindered. How long will it be before Virgin is considered by the top drivers as more than just a road block?

Last five race results: R / 19th / R / 14th / R's top tips for Istanbul

Winner: Vettel

It’s almost impossible to see beyond Red Bull for the win at the moment and, while Webber is in the form of his life, Vettel needs to find a response and just might deliver one in a closely-fought contest here.

Star performer: Kobayashi

Both he and Sauber are overdue some good fortune and the fact the Japanese took the C29 into Q3 at the similarly demanding Circuit de Catalunya bodes well for Turkey.

Disappointment: Red Bull’s challengers

Both Ferrari and McLaren may have the advantage of having access to f-ducts for Istanbul Park’s flat-out sections but there’s surely been too little time between Barcelona and Turkey for them to have closed up on Red Bull by much.
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