The on-track battle between the McLaren drivers in today’s Turkish Grand Prix has to rank among the highlights of the race. Given the stakes and the massive profile the team are blessed/cursed with such wheel-to-wheel combat seems a massive risk – and yet McLaren allow their drivers to contest positions as if they were rivals from different teams. Good on ’em!
The action mainly took place during the first stint. Hamilton dropped behind Button after a failed overtaking attempt on Mark Webber on the first lap of the race, falling from fourth to sixth. That led to a mighty battle between the pair, with passing and re-passing between the two world champions.
After a few laps Hamilton got past before Jenson fought back down the straight, the younger driver eventually nailing his team-mate in to turn one. Then Jenson got a run on Lewis down the pit straight and re-took the position, a crucial psychological fillip for the 2009 world champ.
But Jenson’s three stop strategy would eventually cost him, and as he ran around on increasingly wrecked tyres Lewis was able to catch and easily pass him, allowing him to eventually finish fourth to JB’s sixth.
The most striking thing was watching two cars from the same team fighting so closely, seemingly without any instruction from the pitwall beside ‘please, please don’t take each other out.’ And they didn’t – much to their credit. Jenson in particular looks like he’d rather throw it in to the scenery than make contact with another car.
For an example of how team-mates see the Renault team – Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld got far too close during the grand prix, banging wheels and waving their arms at each other in frustration. Who was to blame – it doesn’t really matter, it should simply never happen. But when it does we do find it particularly entertaining – see our ‘Top-Five Team-Mate Clashes’ for evidence of that.