Red Bull’s impressive start to the 2010 Formula One season blew up in their own faces at the Turkish Grand Prix – when they gifted a one-two triumph to hot rivals McLaren.
Team-mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were left blaming each other after colliding during an ambitious overtaking manoeuvre, by Vettel, on lap 40 of the 58-laps race at Istanbul Park.
Drivers’ championship leader Webber, 33, led after starting from pole position until his team-mate, Germany’s Vettel, 22, challenged him at turn 12.
The pair collided and Vettel was forced to retire while Webber lost positions to eventual winner Briton Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, and McLaren team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button, the defending champion.
Webber maintained that he was not to blame and said that the crash was caused by Vettel who turned right too early.
“Seb had a good top-speed advantage and he went down the inside,” said the Australian. “We were side by side and then it looks like he turned pretty quickly to the right and we made contact. I was just holding my line.
“It wasn’t a major contact, but at that speed there doesn’t need to be much. Neither of us wanted to make contact, but it can happen sometimes when both are in front. It is never ideal but it happened.”
Vettel insisted that he was not at fault and that it was Webber who hit him.
“Obviously, I think if you look at the pictures it was clear I had the inside,” said Vettel.
“I went on the inside, I was ahead and just going down to focus on the braking point and honestly, you can see he touched my right rear wheel and I went off.”
Webber maintains driver standing lead
Webber finished third and now holds a five-point lead in the drivers’ standings, while McLaren took over as leaders in the constructors championship after their one-two finish.
“I still got a few points, but it wasn’t the result either of us wanted,” said Webber.
It also confirmed a suspicion that the Red Bull team, for all their speed and brilliance in the pit-stops, remain brittle and unreliable under pressure – they have taken seven poles out of seven this year, but won only three of those races.
Last year, they were also the fastest team with the fastest car, but failed to exploit that advantage due to technical and mechanical failings. This year, it looks now as if drivers’ errors can be added to their self-inflicted wounds.