Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the Drivers’ Championship, after a well-driven second place finish at the slippery Turkish Grand Prix. Red Bull Racing team-mate Sergio Pérez completed the podium at the Intercity Istanbul Park Circuit.
On a day where mistakes were easy to make, Verstappen drove brilliantly all race to convert his front row start into a second place finish behind Valtteri Bottas. Whilst remaining focused was crucial in the tricky conditions, the race itself was fairly uneventful for the Dutchman, who now leads the championship by six points. Verstappen was in control of second the entire race but was at the same time no real threat to the race leader.
Verstappen is pleased with the podium and is glad to be back leading the championship, however the Red Bull driver is wishing he had more pace from the car.
“As a Team, to finish second and third here was a great result. It was a pretty straight forward race today and I think in general we had a decent day. The race was all about managing tyres, to make sure they lasted to the end which means it wasn’t the most fun race to drive as you always want to push hard.
“Nevertheless, I think we maximised the result today and it’s good to be leading the Drivers’ Championship again. I do wish I had a bit more pace in the car but we are still in the fight, we’ll keep pushing and we’ll see in the coming races how competitive we will be.”
This podium is very special” – Sergio Pérez
Sergio Pérez had an excellent race, the Mexican who started sixth made an excellent start to the race and was fourth by the second corner. The opening stint was then one of controlling tyre wear, the Mexican sat a few seconds behind Charles Leclerc for the majority of the stint.
Before his opening stint came to an end, Pérez had an excellent battle with the recovering Lewis Hamilton. The pair fought from Turn 12 all the way round to Turn 2 in what was one of the best moments of the grand prix, the Mexican did well to come out on top.
It wasn’t long after this that Pérez pitted for fresh Intermediates in what was a good decision by the team. Pérez pitted much earlier than Leclerc meaning that by the time the Scuderia Ferrari driver had pitted, Pérez was already through the graining phase and able to lap considerably faster. Pérez made easy work of Leclerc at Turn 12, putting the Mexican onto the podium where he eventually finished the race.
Pérez is very proud of his third place finish and enjoyed battling with Hamilton.
“This podium is very special because it was not an easy race for me, it was hard and exhausting at times, so I am very happy this evening. It has been a while since I have been up there, I think the last two or three races we should have been on the podium, but we have been so unlucky. I got a good start, I think there was some contact between Fernando and Pierre into turn one so there were three cars, including me, and I thought we weren’t going to make it but in the end, it was a good result for me.
“After that I didn’t feel comfortable in the first stint with the car and I lost a lot of ground but then the second stint was all about pushing at the right time and using my experience to get a podium for the Team. Lewis was closing in really fast and at that time I was struggling quite a lot with my tyres, he had good pace and I thought he might get past me but it turned into a good fight and I came out on top. Lewis is a top driver and it was enjoyable racing with him.
“When I was standing on the podium I saw a lot of Mexican flags in the grandstands, we are so far from home here in Turkey so it was lovely to see. I think there is a lot we can learn from this race, it is a good result for the Team and now we’re looking forward to Austin.”