x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Hamilton wins in Turkey after Red Bulls collide

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton celebrated his first win of the season in Turkey after his Red Bull rivals drove each other off the track.

Lewis Hamilton of McLaren leads from teammate Jenson Button on his way to winning the Turkish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton of McLaren leads from teammate Jenson Button on his way to winning the Turkish Grand Prix.

ISTANBUL // McLaren's Lewis Hamilton celebrated his first win of the Formula One season in Turkey after his Red Bull rivals drove each other off the track while heading for a one-two finish. In a dramatic finale to the race at Istanbul Park, the championship leader Mark Webber and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel collided 18 laps from the finish while first and second to gift McLaren the one-two instead.

Hamilton's victory ended a run of nine races without appearing on the top step of the podium, the 25-year-old's last win coming in Singapore last September while he was still champion. Even then, McLaren came perilously close to a similar nightmare with Hamilton and his world champion teammate Jenson Button running side by side and banging wheels in a furious battle for the lead. Button finished 2.6 seconds behind him in second place.

A happy Hamilton said: "It was quite an exciting race actually. "We knew we had great race pace, but they (Red Bull) had such pace through Turn Eight that we couldn't slipstream, other than that I was on his tail. "Then I had a problem with the right rear at my pit stop and I lost a place to Vettel. "I don't know what happened to these guys (Red Bull), but we got through and then I had a great battle with Jenson.

"I'd like to dedicate this win to my dad (Anthony) as it's his 50th birthday. It's a great way for him to celebrate." Button added: "It was good fun, but then after Lewis got past I was into fuel save mode as well. "The race was a lot quicker than we thought it would be, but three weeks ago who would have though we would battle with the Red Bulls like we have." The Australian Webber, who had been heading for his third win in a row after starting on pole position, finished third to extend his overall lead to five points over Button.

Webber leads the standings with 93, while the McLaren duo moved up the standings with Button in second with 88 and Hamilton third with 84. The day's big loser was Vettel, the 22-year-old German who had started the afternoon level on points with Webber at the top of the standings but paid the price for trying to pass the Australian down the inside on lap 40. The two cars collided, Vettel's right rear tyre deflated and he spun off into retirement while Webber went off track but managed to come back.

Vettel slumped to fifth overall, 15 points behind Webber. The German twirled his finger around his head as he trudged away from the car as if to say 'crazy' while team boss Christian Horner watched from the pit lane wall and shook his head in disbelief. Red Bull's designer and technical head Adrian Newey simply buried his head in his hands. Webber bit his tongue in describing what happened with Vettel as he said: "Seb had top-speed advantage.

"He then went down the inside, we were side by side, it looked like he turned quick right and we made contact. "It's a shame for the team and not an ideal day. It can happen sometimes and when you are at the front it's difficult. "There was a long way to go into the race, so it wasn't a guaranteed victory, but it was an interesting few metres on the track between us." Until then, Red Bull had looked to be heading for their third one-two of the season and second in a row.

Webber, whose lead had rarely amounted to more than a fraction of a second, held off Hamilton for lap after lap until Vettel got ahead at the pitstops. Michael Schumacher finished fourth for Mercedes, the seven-times champion a hefty 31.1secs behind Hamilton, with teammate and fellow-German Nico Rosberg fifth. Poland's Robert Kubica was sixth for Renault and Felipe Massa gave Ferrari some points at least on their 800th grand prix start with a disappointing seventh ahead of Spanish team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso.

* Agencies