ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 8, 2011 (AFP) - Defending drivers world champion Sebastian Vettel consolidated his lead in this year's title race with a near-flawless drive to victory for Red Bull in Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix. The 23-year-old German led from his 19th career pole position to the chequered flag unchallenged, conceding the lead only once during his pit-stops, as he claimed his third win in four races this year.
It was the 13th win of his career and another day of celebration for the Red Bull team as Vettel's team-mate Australian Mark Webber overtook in a brilliant manoeuvre in the clsing stages two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari to finish second.
Triumphant just after the race.
It was the England-based team's first one-two of the season and came at the conclusion of an action-packed contest full of overtaking moves and incidents. Alonso, revelling in a much-improved Ferrari, finished third ahead of Briton Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, who came home fourth for McLaren after a typically roller-coaster afternoon including one pit stop wrecked by a sticky wheel nut.
German Nico Rosberg was fifth for Mercedes ahead of Briton Jenson Button in the second McLaren, the 2009 champion losing ground after planning a three-stop race while most of his rivals went for four.
Another German Nick Heidfeld finished seventh for Renault ahead of Russian Vitaly Petrov in the second Renault, Swiss Sebastien Buemi of Toro Rosso, and the dazzling Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber, who finished 10th after starting at the back of the grid.
Seven-times champion Greman Michael Schumacher, 42, finished 12th for Mercedes, one place behind Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa, his former team-mate.
The race featured a total of 73 pit stops - the most since the 1993 British Grand Prix at Donington, run in torrential rain and won by the legendary late Brazilian Ayrton Senna for McLaren.
Vettel's winning time was one hour 30 minutes and 17.558 seconds. "Yes," he screamed over his radio at the end. "Yes! That's what I am talking about. What a race. We controlled it from the beginning to the end. Thank-you."
1. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull) 1hr 30min 17.558sec 2. Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull) at 8.807sec 3. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari) 10.075 4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren) 40.232 5. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes GP) 47.539 6. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren) 59.431 7. Nick Heidfeld (GER/Lotus-Renault) 1min 0.857sec 8. Sebastien Buemi (SUI/Toro Rosso) 1:09.394 9. Vitaly Petrov (RUS/Lotus-Renault) 1:08.168 10. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Sauber) 1:18.021 11. Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari) 1:19.823 12. Michael Schumacher (GER/Mercedes GP) 1:25.444 13. Jaime Alguersuari (ESP/Toro Rosso) at 1 lap 14. Sergio Perez (MEX/Sauber) 1 lap 15. Adrian Sutil (GER/Force India) 1 lap 16. Rubens Barrichello (BRA/Williams F1) 1 lap 17. Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams F1) 1 lap 18. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/Lotus) 1 lap 19. Jarno Trulli (ITA/Lotus) 1 lap 20. Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL/Virgin Racing) 2 laps 21. Narain Karthikeyan (IND/Hispania) 2 laps 22. Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA/Hispania) 4 laps