Can Hamilton rock Red Bull and win Turkish Grand Prix?
Can Hamilton rock Red Bull and win Turkish Grand Prix?
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 May 2010   |  6:44 pm GMT  |  89 comments

Lewis Hamilton put in a great lap today, just 15/100ths of a second slower than pole sitter Mark Webber’s, to line up on the front row of the grid for the first time this season.

Hamilton: Can he rock Red Bull? (Photos: McLaren)

It’s taken McLaren a long time to get on top of qualifying this season and although there is still some way to go to qualify ahead of the Red Bulls, the McLaren’s race pace indicates that we could have a race on our hands tomorrow.

This is particularly true when you consider that the McLaren enjoys a 6km/h speed advantage on the straights, thanks to Mercedes power and a fully optimised drag reduction wing.

To say that Webber is vulnerable would be to over state the position, but he will sleep rather less easily, knowing that Hamilton has the capacity to pass him, if he gives him the slightest opportunity.

The Red Bull has so much downforce that Hamilton will not be able to follow particularly closely through the vitally important Turns 9 and 10, which leads onto the long back straight. But a mistake there by Webber, as Vettel made last year under pressure from Button at the start, and the McLaren will be on him.

History tells you that the winner in Turkey has only ever come from the front row of the grid and only once has the pole sitter not won it. Webber’s race pace is hard to assess as he wasn’t particularly strong in Friday practice and then his engine failed at the end,
“Normally my long runs have been fine this year. It has been more of strength for me compared to qualy in some ways, ” said Webber. “It didn’t work that well in P2 on Friday but we will get on top of that and then we go from there, so looking forward. We know everyone will start on the option, get on with it.”

Looking back to Spain where Hamilton was again his main challenger, before the McLaren failed in the closing laps, Webber wanted Hamilton to know that he was stroking it at times, “We had an interesting feel with the gap to Lewis in Barcelona. They are a bit more competitive here but we certainly still had something in our sleeve there, so we will see how it goes.”

Hamilton isn’t buying it. McLaren think that their race pace allows them to tackle Red Bull and today’s result gives them the ideal platform to prove it.

“With the new strategy, new regulations it makes it very difficult to pass but this is a place where you can, ” he said. “It is very hard to follow these guys through turn eight and to then be able to follow them after that but it is not impossible and I will be making it as hard as I can for Mark. We’re in the best spot I’ve ever been in to start the race. If I can get close enough to Mark then without a doubt I will be taking the opportunity. But we have to wait and see. We’ve got to look after the tyres, we’ve got a long race ahead of us but like I said, it’s great just to be there.”

Much of their pace in qualifying today came from a new rear wing which is optimised around the drag-reducing rear wing and this is a track where that counts for a lot, as we observed in the LG Tech Report yesterday. As much as 10km/h can be gained from it as it allows you to run a more steeply angled rear wing to get the downforce benefit, knowing that you can dump the drag on the straights.

Red Bull has not optimised its drag reducing wing yet and although they tested it on Friday, they opted not to race it this weekend. Despite McLaren’s ability to run a steeper wing angle, the Red Bull is 4/10ths faster in the middle sector, which features Turn 8.

Hamilton has a chance tomorrow, but we’ve already seen enough to know that he has a great chance in Montreal, which will play to the McLaren’s strengths. Add in Hamilton’s ability to run closer to the walls than anyone except Kubica and I’m getting my money on Hamilton to win Canada now.

As a footnote the accusation of Hamilton being a “manufactured” driver has reared its head again with Nigel Mansell wading in this time. Hamilton reacted this afternoon by saying that Mansell had his facts wrong when he accused Hamilton of being bankrolled at the age of seven with “£2.5 million to go karting.”

“He is a world champion and was a great star in his age and I look up to him. I wouldn’t have expected that form him but that’s the way it is, ” said Hamilton. “I feel I have been very, very fortunate to have had the support as without it I would not be here. I don’t know how he was funded when he was younger but for us it was virtually impossible to find money. It got more and more expensive. My parents paid all the way until I was 13 by re-mortgaging the house.”

Ironically that is a story which would be familiar to Mansell, who mortgaged his house to pay for a season in Formula 3, one which ended with a broken neck.

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I think the to red bulls side by side caused a “venturi effect” that sucked the two cars together. Put two strips of paper side by side blow between them and the two strips will join together.


…Along with the ‘Vettel effect’ of driving into cars that are by his side. Seriously though, the negative pressure created in those conditions is negligible.


Yes he can! (Isn’t hindsight wonderful)


James, you should get the technical people who run your web site to close the poll just before the race starts! Leaving it open after we all know Lewis won the race makes it a little irrelevant.

With that in mind I voted ‘No’ as I believed before the race that the advantage the Red Bulls had through Turn 8 would make it impossible for the McLarens to get near enough for a pass at the end of the back straight. Clearly I failed to factor in the Red Bulls pressing the self-destruct button.

As a side issue it strikes me as a little hard on the drivers who qualified on the dirty side of the track – the predictions were borne out by both Lewis and Jenson getting overtaken on the first corner. With all the high tech equipment in formula one why is nothing done to make both sides of the grid as clean as each other?


He did!

Just not the way we expected it to happen.

There will be many internet racing experts espousing their thoughts as facts over this one.


Although I’d like to see Webber win today – I think Hamilton will get him off the line or on the first lap.

On a separate note – Vettel needs to improve his poker face and/or attitude post qualifying if he has a disappointing result. Horner has said he has matured enough to win the championship this year – doesn’t look like it.


Vettel will win.

He loves this place. If it wasn’t for the broken roll bar he would have destoryed them.


he kinda did destroy one of them

Prof Bolshaviks

Do you think mclaren have had to go aggressive with setup to close the gap in qualifying? The mclarens were bucking a lot and hitting the ground through turn 8.
Put the fuel in and they could be in real trouble through turn 8. I expect a few issues there for them early on. Maybe michael and Nico could sneak through into 9.


After qualifying, I thought this could be a very good chance for Hamilton to get his first win, until I heard Jensons comments. He was explaining his lack of pace through a particular section due to the bumps. Or more importantly his low setting for the ride height in relation to the bumps. If Jenson had problems in qualifying, what is he going to be like in the race with a full tank?

Have McLaren sacrificed the race ride height to get to the front of the grid with Hamilton as well? If they have, it could get very interesting over the bumps on a full tank.


Guys imagine Hamilton with a RedBull car, he shoul ddistroy evryone in his way, no doubt.


Hamilton will cook tires today.


Hi James,

A couple of things from your point of view if you will:

1 – Seb was saying something after Mark was asked why he went out first in the last quali sessession – what was that about?

2 – Mark didnt seem overjoyed about his pole – why do you thing that was?

Cheers Mate


Vettel will take Hamilton before the first turn. Then he will follow Webber close, during pitstops he will leap frog him and win the race.

1. Vettel

2. Webber

3. Hamilton

4. Schumacher

5. Alonso

6. Massa

7. Button

8. Rosberg

There, my crystal ball, if it is correct I expect one of your signed books James 😀

Actually that should be a cool thing every race weekend. Everyone posts their prediction for the top 10, the ones who get it right get a signed copy of your book.

Jake Pattison

1. Webber

2. Vettel

3. Alonso

4. Hamilton

5. Button

6. Schumacher

7. Rosberg

8. Massa

I could go on…actually 10 is too many. 5 would be enough of a challenge!


I’ve got something coming up soon


We need a ‘beat James Allen feature’. I love the website and insight but am desperate to see more ‘gut feeling’ type predictions. I know it’s a potentially compromising situation to put yourself into as a journalist but it would really liven up race weekend on this site. The ‘how the XXX Grand Prix will unfold’ feature from last year was one of my personal favourites but obviously works less well now that there is no re-fuelling, etc.


OK I will take that on board and maybe we can look at doing some more tipping


this is a stupid poll. most drivers can/could beat webber given issues/a big crash.. koby CAN beat webber too, it is possible but quite unlikely. so obviously hami can beat webber, it should be 100% yes.. my point is the poll should be WILL hami beat webber


The last 3 years the guy that’s started 2nd hasn’t made it there into the first corner.


One factor to throw into the mix is Hamilton’s penchant to eat up a pair of Tyres. Was it 2008 when he had to make 3 stops to Massa’s 2?

It’s definitely his best chance of a win so far this year, and he could def do it.

Cmon Webber!


‘I wouldn’t have expected that form him but that’s the way it is.’ Strange, James, I have the same problem typing “from” as you. It just never comes out right. Lol.


I think that Hamilton can beat Webber of course. But we must not forget that Red BULL has good car, good ballence and in turn eight they are best. The good chance for Hamilton must be on the start, he must pass Webber. Just now Webber must take care because he is so confident that he can win this champiochip, so in this case Hamilton does not have to loose.


I noticed the red bull mechanics have a very strange routine when taking the tyre warmers off – don’t if any one else noticed.

They take it off, fold and momentarily place it on top of the tyre before lifting it away again. I only noticed cos one mechanic momentarily forgot, got a scornful look from his opposite man, quickly put it on top then lifted it off. It seems fairly pointless and noond else seems to do this.

I had this strange paranoia that at that precise moment – the cars ride height changes…! Check it out


Others do that. It’s no doubt the way they have been instructed by team manager Jonathan Wheatley, who is something of a disciplinarian


I watched today the start of the 2007 GP at Turkey, where Lewis again started in 2nd place on the dirty side of the track. The dirty side is slow and brutal, and Hamilton lost a place at the start, which may again happen tomorrow. If Webber takes the lead, and the strides forward that Mclaren seems to have made, may enable Lewis to initially stay with the Bull’s, and Mclaren’s race pace and Hamilton’s racecraft may be enough to defeat them.


It always saddens Me that daily in F1, people go back and dig up things to make stories. One of the scientist was asked what makes it fun to explore futurology, he said that the past makes no relevance to what we will have or use in future.

If things happen accept them as they are, i agree that emotions run high in F1 from fans, drivers and people at the top of F1, mistakes are made but there is time to move on, when the robot gets green, how many people stop their cars and not go but wait for a robot to close again? We should accept that there are people who will never move on.

At times the media will generate stuff that causes hatred, some people look for stories that will sell more papers and site hits, some journalists are so dark that they will manufacture stuff, hype it up and shock the readers with their lies and lies sell more.

But I have witnessed some newspapers shut down because they spread lies.

Prof Bolshaviks

What are you talking about?


Theres a clue in his name


Hamilton *could* beat Webber, but my money’s on Webber for the win.


I read somewhere that they put an old engine in Webber’s car on Friday, and they were expecting it to blow anyway… now where did I read that.


Well it’s fairly standard after six races for practice engines to be long in the tooth. Expect to blow? Not sure about that, it raises awkward questions.


Hi james, do you think Hamilton is finally starting to pull clear of Button? The European qualy sessions would suggest so but do you think the rule for 2010 changed the balance, had it been the short stint light cars i think lewis would have been way ahead. Has there been any talk of refuelling returning for 2011 yet?


Hamilton has been faster this weekend, but Button wasn’t able to get his target lap time due to yellow flags today.


Refuelling for 2011.. y/n/m?


What a great pity for SV’s car!! Roll-bar failure this time!?


I hope SV can figure a way to jump LH and just follow MW and leap frog him in the pit stops.

ps: Oh wait, the guy in front (in RBR) has the pit stop priority, so I say SV should just go for it after turn 8 (assume he passed LH) to over take MW. Such cruel luck to SV with the broken bar…gosh!


Hamilton is going to be pushing like mad to get past Webber early on. I’m not so sure about Button getting quite in the mix for getting the win given what he said after Q3 that his car’s ride height is a bit lower than it probably should be so he might be struggling in the race.

I expect him to be in qith a good shout for 3rd. It all depends on Vettel then.


Cant believe Sir Nige would say that.

Is it a bit of sour grapes ?

I think Lewis has firmly established himself as a true F1 major player.

He is the most exiting driver in F1


I don’t think it’s a case of sour grapes, but rather more of Nige being Nige, remember he did write off Button in 2007 as being “past it” before lauding him in 2009…

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