Sebastian Vettel: What were you thinking? You’re supposed to be a title contender, not a careless fucking newbie.
Istanbul Park is a gorgeous circuit, absolutely a masterpiece and proof that Hermann Tilke really can design spectacularly good tracks when given the proper terrain to work on. Good passing opportunities into T12, T1, and T3 made for some spectacular racing. More than that, the combination of a tight and technical sector 1, a fast and sweeping sector 2, and balls-out straights in sector 3 and across the start/finish line brings out all the different strengths and weaknesses of the cars. The duel between Red Bull and McLaren was a perfect case in point: the MP-25s were notably faster on the straights, but had to downshift through T8 (the only four-apex corner I’m ever likely to see) while the incredible downforce of the Red Bulls let them run away in sector 2 but caused trouble in sector 3.
At this point in the season, Red Bull and McLaren look like the dominant two teams, in a class entirely of their own as far as car development is concerned. Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault (!) are about on the same pace, though Mercedes seems to be getting more pace out of their drivers than their cars. Force India, Sauber, and Williams are next, with the new teams coming up at the back of the pack (and retiring a lot as they shake out technical gremlins, making it difficult to judge their true pace). I wouldn’t be shocked to see either Force India or Williams move up to hassle the second group, or for Ferrari or Renault to take the fight to the leaders, but on the other hand I wouldn’t bet on it.
Could it get any more obvious that restrictions on testing and aero development, designed to reduce costs, have done no such thing? This is as much and as fast development across the whole field as I’ve ever seen. Banning F-ducts next year isn’t going to help matters, and switching to a new tire supplier is going to throw things off even further — and result in a lot of expensive redevelopment.