Op-Ed: Should the real story from Turkey be McLaren’s resurgence?

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I’m going to give a rare “tip of the hat” to the official Formula 1 site for suggesting this idea: “the real story was the fact that Red Bull’s opposition – notably McLaren – has closed the gap on the once dominant team.”

Interesting, indeed.

On one basic level, you can check this out. Constructor’s championship? McLaren has 172 points. Red Bull? 171.

But more on point, it is clear that these two teams were the class of the weekend. The quartet streaked out to a commanding lead, somewhere in the 35 to 40 second range at the time of the Red Bull collision. Think about it. Mark Webber was far enough ahead of Michael Schumacher to bang up with Sebastian Vettel, make his way to the pits, stop and get a new nose and still come back out on track ahead of the now-fourth-place Schumacher.

That’s a comfortable lead.

Except… the Red Bull’s shared it with McLaren. And I have to wonder if that really isn’t the story of the weekend, for two reasons:

1. As noted above, it looks like McLaren has found those magic few tenths of a second on Red Bull. Canada should prove very interested, not to mention the rest of the season as these teams battle it out. (And as Mercedes tries to catch up, plus Ferrari tries to right its ship and, maybe, Renault sees where it can sneak some more good finishes in.)

2. I wonder how much McLaren ultimately can be “blamed” for the RBR crash. If Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were having internal strife and chafing while just fighting for first between themselves, I have to think that McLaren sticking itself into the mix had to be unsettling. It isn’t hard for me to imagine Seb thinking something along the lines of: “Now I’ve got more than just than danged Aussie to work about. I got to get to the front.” And for his part, Webbo might have been thinking: “McLaren’s back on pace. I need this win. Don’t try a thing, Seb.”

Webber is still first in the drivers championship, but the ranks are closing on him:

Pos Driver Nationality Team Points
1 Mark Webber Australian RBR-Renault 93
2 Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes 88
3 Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes 84
4 Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari 79
5 Sebastian Vettel German RBR-Renault 78
6 Robert Kubica Polish Renault 67
7 Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari 67
8 Nico Rosberg German Mercedes GP 66
9 Michael Schumacher German Mercedes GP 34
10 Adrian Sutil German Force India-Mercedes 22
11 Vitantonio Liuzzi Italian Force India-Mercedes 10
12 Rubens Barrichello Brazilian Williams-Cosworth 7
13 Vitaly Petrov Russian Renault 6
14 Jaime Alguersuari Spanish STR-Ferrari 3
15 Sebastien Buemi Swiss STR-Ferrari 1
16 Kamui Kobayashi Japanese BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1
17 Nico Hulkenberg German Williams-Cosworth 1
18 Pedro de la Rosa Spanish BMW Sauber-Ferrari 0
19 Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Lotus-Cosworth 0
20 Karun Chandhok Indian HRT-Cosworth 0
21 Lucas di Grassi Brazilian Virgin-Cosworth 0
22 Jarno Trulli Italian Lotus-Cosworth 0
23 Bruno Senna Brazilian HRT-Cosworth 0
24 Timo Glock German Virgin-Cosworth 0

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