Valtteri Bottas wins in Turkey as Max Verstappen retakes Formula One lead
Verstappen moved six points clear of rivals Lewis Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas ended his year-long drought with a dominant victory in Turkey on Sunday while unhappy Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton finished fifth and lost the Formula One championship lead to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Verstappen, 24, was runner-up and 14.584 seconds behind the Finn at a wet Istanbul Park to overturn a two-point deficit to Hamilton and walk away six points clear, with six races remaining.
Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez finished third, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc fourth and ahead of seven-time world champion Hamilton, who had started 11th due to an engine penalty.
“It’s been a while, but feels good; I think from my side probably one of the best races I’ve had ever,” Bottas, who had started on pole position and was never threatened, said.
“Apart from that one little slide, everything was under control.”
The victory was the Finn’s first since Russia in September 2020.
Verstappen, who started on the front row, had a quiet race and said it had all been about tyre management.
“I’m happy to be on the podium,” he said.
“I think it’s been close the whole year and I’m pretty sure in Austin it will be a good battle with Mercedes, so we just have to keep pushing, keep trying.”
The US Grand Prix in Texas is the next race on October 24.
Hamilton might also have been on the podium but Mercedes called him in, against his judgment, for a late stop from third place for a fresh set of intermediate tyres with the track drying.
“We shouldn’t have come in, man,” the angry Briton said in heated radio exchanges as he realised he had lost two places in the pits.
“Massive [tyre] graining. I told you.”
Hamilton pointed out afterwards that Alpine driver Esteban Ocon, who finished 10th, had managed to make one set of tyres last the entire race.
Had he stayed out and kept third, Hamilton would only be a point behind Verstappen.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: “We thought we could finish third without stopping or, if a dry line emerged, maybe going to a soft tyre.
“Then we saw Leclerc dropping off and Lewis was dropping off, and it was clear we wouldn’t make it to the end.”
Spaniard Carlos Sainz was voted driver of the day for going from the back of the grid, due to power unit penalties, to eighth for Ferrari.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was sixth, with Lando Norris seventh for McLaren and Lance Stroll ninth for Aston Martin. — Reuters