Valtteri Bottas clinched a dominant win at the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix to score his first win of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Max Verstappen finished in second position and crucially took over the lead of the drivers’ championship from Lewis Hamilton by six points. Sergio Pérez joined his Red Bull Racing team-mate on the podium.
Charles Leclerc finished in fourth position ahead of Hamilton. A late call to pit Hamilton with eight laps to go for a new set of intermediate tyres dropped him from third to fifth position.
The race at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey took place under overcast conditions on a damp track with air temperatures at 16 degree C and track temperatures at 14 degree C.
The drivers started on the intermediate tyres and stayed on them for the full race distance as rain fell intermittently. Sebastian Vettel was the only driver who fitted on the medium compound tyres but had to pit quickly as the track was too damp.
Bottas led off the line into Turn 1 ahead of Verstappen and Leclerc and stayed ahead comfortably till the end of the race. Pérez gained two positions at the start to slot into fourth position.
Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso tangled at the start and Alonso dropped to eighteenth position. Gasly was given a 5-second penalty for the incident. Alonso was given the same penalty for his incident with Mick Schumacher.
At the end of lap 2, the order was Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Pérez, Gasly, Lando Norris, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, Hamilton, Vettel.
Bottas had a 1.5 seconds lead to Verstappen. The DRS was not enabled in the wet conditions. Hamilton found Tsunoda a difficult customer to overtake and had to wait until lap 8.
By lap 15, Hamilton had slotted into fifth position ahead of Gasly. Carlos Sainz scythed through the field from the back and had taken tenth position.
Bottas had the race under control and had increased the lead to three seconds over Verstappen. Hamilton started to reel in Pérez and was within one second of him on lap 32.
Daniel Ricciardo was the first driver to pit for a fresh set of intermediate tyres followd by Alonso on lap 32.
Verstappen pitted on lap 36 and rejoined in third position. Bottas pitted two laps later and rejoined in second position behind Leclerc. Pérez then pitted and rejoined in sixth position behind Gasly.
Now Hamilton was behind Verstappen in fourth position. Leclerc and Hamilton had not pitted and looked on course to finish the race without a pit stop.
But Leclerc locked up a couple of times and lost the race lead to Bottas. On lap 46, Leclerc pitted and rejoined in fourth position ahead of Pérez. Bottas had a comfortable 7 seconds lead over Verstappen.
Hamilton was in third position and reluctantly pitted when the Mercedes pitwall asked him to pit. Hamilton rejoined behind Leclerc in fifth position and after initially cutting the gap fell back when his new intermediate tyres went through the graining phase.
Hamilton was under pressure from Gasly and Norris in the final laps and managed to keep fifth position. But he finished three places and eight points behind his arch-rival Verstappen.
Bottas won the race with a 14.584 seconds gap to Verstappen and the extra point for the fastest lap. Verstappen finished second and took over the lead in the drivers’ championship from Hamilton by six points.
Pérez joined his team-mate on the podium and played the team game to perfection with his stout defence against Hamilton in the first stint. Leclerc crafted a good race to finish in fourth position.
Hamilton finished in fifth position and the strategy to pit him late in the race will be debated. Gasly finished in sixth position ahead of Norris.
Sainz who started in nineteenth position finished in eighth position. Stroll and Esteban Ocon rounded off the top ten positions at the Turkish Grand Prix.
2021 Turkish GP Race Results:
|1||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||58||1:31:04.103||26|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing Honda||58||+14.584s||18|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing Honda||58||+33.471s||15|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||AlphaTauri Honda||58||+44.292s||8|
|7||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren Mercedes||58||+47.213s||6|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Mercedes||58||+82.018s||2|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine Renault||57||+1 lap||1|
|11||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||57||+1 lap||0|
|12||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||57||+1 lap||0|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren Mercedes||57||+1 lap||0|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||AlphaTauri Honda||57||+1 lap||0|
|15||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Mercedes||57||+1 lap||0|
|16||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine Renault||57||+1 lap||0|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Mercedes||57||+1 lap||0|
|18||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Mercedes||57||+1 lap||0|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Haas Ferrari||56||+2 laps||0|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RAF||Haas Ferrari||56||+2 laps||0|