Sunday’s Turkish GP started off with an incident packed first lap that saw Renault’s Fernando Alonso strike Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and Felipe Massa passed by a hard charging Nico Rosberg. Starting with a heavily fuelled car, last year’s world champion Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, was unable to start the race aggressively and slotted into a dismal 17th. Adopting a single-stop strategy from the off, he pushed hard throughout but the best he could achieve was 13th place at the chequered flag.

Jenson Button's charge to the 2009 world championship continued in style, however, as primary challengers Vettel and Barrichello mounted flawed attempts for the win at Istanbul. The Brawn driver's advantage over Vettel, who by some is considered the Briton's most likely challenger for the crown, blew out to more than double the Red Bull racer's points tally of 29.

Vettel, third, had to follow his teammate Mark Webber to the chequered flag, after a three-stop strategy. The 'hold station' team order was given in the form of: "Sebastian, save the car, Mark is faster". The German led away from pole position, but let Button past with an early mistake at the exit of turn 10.

"It was my mistake," an unhappy Vettel, 21, said, "but I think Jenson was just too quick today, I wouldn't have been able to hold him."

Button’s team mate Barrichello had a bad day, beginning with an atrocious start, a messy run through the pack requiring a new nose, and ultimately retirement with a suspected gearbox problem. Jarno Trulli ended Toyota's slump with fourth, while Felipe Massa ended his run of Turkish GP victories, dating back to 2006, with his sixth place.