Valtteri Bottas ends 2021 win drought with superb drive at wet Istanbul Park; Max Verstappen second and he now leads Lewis Hamilton in title race by six points with six races to go; Hamilton was third before late Mercedes pit-stop dropped him back to fifth
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 10/10/21 3:27pm
Valtteri Bottas brilliantly won a rain-affected Turkish GP ahead of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, as an angered Lewis Hamilton finished fifth after a late Mercedes pit-stop halted his comeback drive.
Bottas led almost every lap of a gripping race in difficult conditions and sealed his first win of the season with an overtake on Charles Leclerc, before finishing comfortably ahead of Verstappen at the chequered flag.
“From my side, it was one of the best races I’ve had, ever,” said Bottas.
But Verstappen has still retaken the championship lead from Hamilton, who was running third after starting 11th before being brought into the pits with just seven laps remaining – a decision he slammed on team radio.
“Why did we give up that place?,” said Hamilton, having previously refused Mercedes pit calls as he tried to get to the end of the race on the same intermediate tyres he started on. “We shouldn’t have come in, man. I told you!”
Mercedes told Hamilton that he would have lost even more positions by not stopping – but the end result is that Verstappen now heads the standings by six points with six races remaining in an epic 2021 season.
Leclerc was also attempting to complete all 58 laps on the same tyres before he was passed by Bottas. He then pitted, and was overtaken by Perez in the other Red Bull for the final podium position.
Perez had an incredible battle with Hamilton for fourth earlier in the race, even being forced over the pit-entry as they went wheel-to-wheel in the final sector before he lunged to maintain position into Turn 1.
Pierre Gasly finished fifth for AlphaTauri despite picking up a five-second penalty for a first-corner collision with Fernando Alonso, although the Driver of the Day was Carlos Sainz after a magnificent comeback charge.
Sainz started 19th but finished eighth after several breath-taking overtakes.
Esteban Ocon was the only driver to finish the race on just one set of intermediate tyres, although he struggled towards the end of the race.
Turkish GP result, top-10
1) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
9) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
10) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
How Mercedes and Hamilton pit-stop drama played out on team radio
Hamilton’s race engineer Pete Bonnington: “Box box, box box.”
PB: “New inter is the way to go.”
LH: “I don’t think it is, man.”
LH: “It feels like we should stay out.”
LH: “I mean I’m sliding around, but it’s OK, so far.”
PB: “Ok Lewis so we think we should box this lap, this will be the last chance before we lose the gap to Gasly.”
LH: “Sure, ok.”
PB: “So Gasly at three [seconds] behind, three behind.”
LH: “**** man why’d you give up that space?
“It looks like we were going to lose position anyway.”
LH: “What position am I in?”
PB: “Currently P5”
LH: “We shouldn’t have come in. Massive graining. I told you.”
PB: “Gasly at one second.”
LH: “Leave it alone, man.”
More to follow…
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