Bottas wins in Turkey as Verstappen reclaims title lead from HamiltonMonday, October 11, 2021
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) — Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas claimed his first chequered flag of the season to win the Turkish Grand Prix yesterday as Max Verstappen reclaimed the lead in the title race.
The Red Bull driver finished second to take a six-point lead in the championship, ahead of Lewis Hamilton who finished fifth, voicing frustration with his Mercedes' team strategy.
“From my side, probably one of the best races I've ever had,” said Bottas after his 11th career win.
Sergio Perez, in the other Red Bull, took third with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in fourth.
“It wasn't easy today,” said Verstappen.
“The track was very greasy, we had to manage the tyres the whole race so couldn't really push.”
Hamilton was quickest in qualifying but had to start the race in 11th because of a grid penalty incurred for changing his engine.
The seven-time champion gained two places on the opening lap before picking his way up to fifth where he was held up by Perez, the two of them dicing at the end of lap 35 in some classic wheel-to-wheel racing.
As the other cars came in to change their tyres Hamilton stayed out, moving up to third and looking good for the podium.
Hamilton declined the initial call to come in for fresh tyres but finally acceded to the Mercedes team instructions, boxing eight laps from the end.
It cost Hamilton two places as Perez and Leclerc flew on ahead and the Englishman did not hide his frustration over the radio.
“We shouldn't have come in. Massive graining man. I told you,” an angry Hamilton said to his team as he struggled to hold off Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri.
A disgruntled Hamilton later pointed out Alpine's Esteban Ocon made it round with one set of tyres, intimating that he could have stayed out.
Although the rain eased by the start of the race, the wet conditions prevailed throughout, making the tactics around tyres and the timing of pit stops all the more important.
Verstappen, who began yesterday two points behind Hamilton in the title race, made no attempt to challenge Bottas and focused on a damage limitation exercise, content to ease home second knowing that Hamilton was three places further back.
There are six races left in the season with the United States Grand Prix in Texas on October 24 next on the schedule.