Hamilton leads McLaren to 1-2 finish
ISTANBUL -- Lewis Hamilton led McLaren to a 1-2 finish at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday after a costly run-in between teammates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel denied Red Bull a shot at the top two spots.
The pair touched as Vettel looked to pass along the Istanbul Park Circuit's fastest section, causing the German driver to spin out of the race. Webber, who had led for the entire 40 laps to that point, recovered for third behind Jenson Button as Red Bull's pit-lane team looked on in disbelief.
The McLaren team also had some nervous moments near the end as its drivers exchanged the lead, but Hamilton eventually earned his first win of the season by 2.6 seconds after rain had sprinkled the circuit. It was McLaren's second 1-2 showing this season.
"It was quite an exciting race," said Hamilton, the 2008 champion. "It was great to watch -- it was like an action movie."
Webber's disappointment was obvious after he looked set to take a third straight victory from the pole.
"It can happen sometimes. We're both at the front and it's not ideal ... but it happens," Webber said. "There was a long way to go in the race so it wasn't a guaranteed victory. It was an interesting few meters between us on the track."
Red Bull was heading toward a second straight 1-2 finish that would have given it a big lead in both the drivers' and constructors' standings. Neither driver accepted the blame, with Vettel insisting he had the right of way as he moved up the inside and Webber believing his teammate closed him off too soon.
Webber labeled it "a disaster."
"There is no fight. This is something that happens," Vettel said. "We do not need it, but there is nothing we can do now."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was "hugely disappointed" with his two drivers, saying they both deserved part of the blame.
"They're big boys and if you look at the McLaren drivers they gave each other room, they raced each other hard and I didn't see two McLarens in the fence," Horner said. "From a team point-of-view, it's the worst possible thing you can see. We gave it to them on a plate today."
Webber leads the drivers' standings with 93 points, while Button moved into second with 88 points -- four more than Hamilton. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finished eighth to improve to 79 points and Vettel stayed on 78.
Vettel's accident allowed the rest of the field to move up one spot with Michael Schumacher finishing fourth, matching his season's best showing at the Spanish GP, ahead of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. Robert Kubica of Renault was sixth ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa.
The Red Bull drivers tangled when Vettel moved inside Webber on the straight and appeared to try to close off his teammate too soon. They touched wheels, sending Vettel sliding into the gravel as bits of his car -- including his rear left tire -- flew off.
Vettel raised his hands at Webber, who returned to the track but lost ground on the McLarens after pitting to repair the damage.
"Obviously I am not very happy," Vettel said. "I was inside focusing on the braking point, we touched and that was it."
Webber had won the last two races from the pole but finished 24.2 seconds back this time.
"Over 19 races, when you have two guys fighting, it's always on the edge for us," Webber said. "I was happy to save the car."
Button and Hamilton battled along the same stretch a few laps later. Button got past by the start of lap 50 before Hamilton retook the lead around the first set of corners to deny his teammate a second straight win at the "Otodrom" as the pair then focused on saving fuel to close the 58-lap race.
"I got the run down into turn 12 on the outside and I had to have a go, really," Button said. "It was good fun."
Hamilton pressured Webber for much of the race on the counterclockwise circuit.
"We're so much closer to the Red Bulls and three weeks ago, you wouldn't expect this," Button said.
While the two leading teams battled for podium order, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault fought behind them as Alonso worked his way up from 12th to stay close in the championship fight heading into the Canadian GP on June 13.
"We don't have the fastest car, and yet we are one point ahead of Vettel," Alonso said after the Italian team competed in its 800th GP. "So we aren't doing too bad."
Kubica and Massa have 67 points, one better than Rosberg. Schumacher improved to 34 points.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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