October 10, (THEWILL) – Valtteri Bottas won a wet Turkish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, while Lewis Hamilton finished fifth after a late Mercedes pit-stop ended his return effort.
Bottas led nearly every lap of a thrilling race in challenging circumstances, securing his first win of the season with a pass on Charles Leclerc and finishing comfortably ahead of Verstappen at the finish line.
However, Verstappen has reclaimed the championship lead from Hamilton, who was running third after starting 11th and being forced to pit with only seven circuits to go – a decision he criticised on team radio.
“Why did we give up that place?,” Hamilton wondered, having earlier resisted Mercedes pit requests in an attempt to finish the race on the same intermediate tyres he had begun on. “We shouldn’t have come in, man. I told you!”
Mercedes advised Hamilton that not stopping would have cost him even more spots, but the ultimate consequence is that Verstappen now leads the standings by six points with six races left in the thrilling 2021 season.
Before being passed by Bottas, Leclerc was likewise attempting to finish all 58 laps on the same set of tyres. He pitted next, only to be passed by Perez in the other Red Bull for the final podium spot.
Perez had a thrilling duel for fourth with Hamilton earlier in the race, even being forced over the pit-entry as they raced wheel-to-wheel in the last sector before lunging to keep his place into Turn 1.
Despite a five-second penalty for a first-corner collision with Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly finished fifth for AlphaTauri, but Carlos Sainz was named Driver of the Day after a stunning comeback.
After multiple breath-taking overtakes, Sainz finished seventh after starting 19th. Although he struggled towards the conclusion of the race, Esteban Ocon was the only driver to finish the race with just one pair of intermediate tyres.
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
“From my side, it was one of the best races I’ve had, ever,” said Bottas in his post-race remarks.