2005 Formula 1 Turkish Grand Prix

The first Turkish Grand Prix was already a hit before today’s race even began. The general consensus seems to be that Herman Tilke has designed a spectacular racing circuit. I had already raced it on the PlayStation 2 weeks ago, and that Turn 8 is brilliant fun in the game. I’ve taken it flat before, it’s very exciting.

In real life it’s been catching all the drivers out though. About half a dozen drivers lost it in qualifying yesterday either on or just after Turn 8 (yesterday’s qualifying session was very exciting — why change the format?). Some drivers have said that the circuit actually became more bumpy as the weekend went along. This wouldn’t actually surprise me — Tilke’s previous circuits have suffered from this; Sepang in particular because it was built on a swamp! Nevertheless, Turn 8 has already been compared to Eau Rouge and 130R, and Istanbul Park has been compared to Spa Francorchamps! I wouldn’t quite go that far, but I do think that this circuit has finally proved Tilke’s doubters wrong once and for all.

The race itself was pretty exciting to start with, although it did die down quite a lot towards the end. McLaren really ought to have Renault seriously on the back foot, but once again it didn’t quite happen today. Mind you, it’s not as though McLaren could have done much about that. The reason Montoya lost second place was because of Monteiro. That’s the second recent race that Monteiro has done something like that (he did a similar thing to Villeneuve in Germany). This time it ultimately cost Montoya second place, and this could have a large bearing in the World Championship. I’d expect Monteiro to get serious punishment for that.

Having said that, Monteiro has extended his incredible run of finishes. He has now finished his first fourteen Formula 1 races. What an achievement, and he isn’t even finished yet!

Button looked great during the race, and he had some really good overtaking manoeuvres. I particularly enjoyed watching him pass Alonso, with the new graphics from FOM showing us when Button and Alonso were on the brake and when they were on the throttle. It was interesting to see how much Button used the brake more than Alonso.

Mark Webber had an interesting moment with Michael Schumacher. I think Schumi was to blame there. Webber might only have had half a chance, but I saw no reason for Schumacher to try and squeeze him out like that. I mean, for one thing, Schumacher had the inside line for the next corner anyway. Schumacher uncharacteristically panicked and he paid the price for it.

It didn’t matter much for Webber, though, with those bizarre tyre failures on the Williams cars. Both Williams’ were affected twice, and this was after Webber had a similar failure during practice. Very strange. Williams have never got it together this season, and they are now firmly a mid-grid team with some amateurish moments.

I think the move of the day goes to Kimi Räikkönen though, when he went in between the two Renaults, who had him thoroughly beaten at the start. Kimi just calmly slotted his car between the Renaults and took the lead just like that. Great driving. Unfortunately, the Renaults were so far behind (I was shocked that they had to pit so early) that we still never got a Kimi vs Fernando battle for any significant period of the race.

4 comments

  1. A good race, the track seemed to lend itself to good racing.The Montoya incident has got me confused, with second in the bag, he tries to lap a backmarker like that.I think he is at least 50% responsible for the clash.At this stage of his career he still prone to silly errors.

  2. I agree there actually. Although, in my view, when a driver is being lapped he ought to totally back off and stay out of the way (unless he is racing somebody else, which Monteiro wasn’t as far as I could tell), Montoya was probably a bit too hasty trying to lap him there. Montoya needs to cut out the errors, indeed.

  3. Turn 8 (I hate that btw, give it a name, you lazy b***…s) really looks a challenge. And it is actually possible to overtake, hurray!

    I think inconsistency has always been Montoya’s problem. Sometimes he’s fast and, well, not smooth, but sometimes he’s definitely fast. Sometimes he looks like he just doesn’t give a toss whether he’s first or last.

    The Schumacher/Webber incident was interesting. After the race, Schumacher said he hadn’t seen a replay but that he’d been hit from behind by Webber. Having seen it, that’d only be true if Schumi’s behind starts about halfway up his car. Webber definitely had track position, imo, Schumi just didn’t expect him to be there. As far as rumour’s of his demise, I think Schumi is making a few mistakes he wouldn’t have made a couple of years ago. The car is the bigger problem though (as you said not long ago if I remember rightly) The inexplicable decline in the Ferraris performance must be one major downer for all concerned. It’s nowhere at the moment, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon either.

    If my maths is correct, even if Raikkonen wins the last five races (which is looking quite do-able subject to reliability), Alonso just has to finish third in every race to be champion. At the moment I’d say that’s odds on. It’s possible that the BAR continues to improve to the point where Button can take enough points away from Alonso to make things really interesting. That’s certainly add some extra spice anyway.

  4. Yeah, I can’t see Alonso losing this. Then again, I haven’t seen him losing it easily since the European GP or something! Renault should be worried about their pace though. They’ve not had the fastest car since Monaco at least, so they could end up losing the Constructors’ Championship. I can’t really see Button taking too many points away from them though — not unless Renault have a few more races like Hungary.