Valtteri Bottas took his tenth and probably most impressive victory of his Formula 1 career in Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix, with the Finn in dominant form around a wet Intercity Istanbul Park.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver started from pole position, and aside for a few laps during the pit stop cycle, he led until the chequered flag, with a bonus point coming his way for setting the fastest lap.
Bottas reckoned the race was completely under control despite the difficult conditions – aside from one slide midway through at turn one – and he was pleased to take points away from both Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen.
“Today was probably one of the best races I’ve had ever – apart from that one little slide, everything was under control,” said Bottas. “The car has been fantastic in every possible condition this weekend and I had great confidence with it.
“It’s not easy to choose the strategy here with these conditions – when to stop, which tyre to choose – but I’m glad everything went smoothly for me. When there’s only one drying line it doesn’t take much for you to go off, you need maximum focus all through the race and so today feels like a well-earned victory.
“My first win of the year too which feels great and I was happy to bring it home. It also took points off Red Bull so great for me and the team.”
“Today was frustrating but it is what it is” – Lewis Hamilton
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton finished fifth, but a late pit stop for fresh intermediate tyres meant he fell away from what was looking like a top three finish.
The reigning World Champion started eleventh after taking a new internal combustion engine in Turkey and earning himself a ten-place grid penalty, but he was able to make on-track moves that brought him into contention for the podium places.
However, Hamilton was brought in by the team with just seven laps remaining as they felt his tyres were falling off the cliff and losing performance, and after that he was unable to make any inroads into fourth-placed Charles Leclerc ahead of him.
“Today was frustrating but it is what it is – it felt good to be in third and I thought if I could just hold on it would be a great result from 11th,” said Hamilton. “Strategy calls in conditions like today can be so tough.
“I’m naturally a risk-taker and being third, I was aiming to miss the stop when everyone pitted for new Inters, hopeful that I could get the opportunity to switch to slicks later and gain some good positions.
“Then the team made the call to come in and you have to rely on your team, accept the choices they make and hope it’s the right one – as I always say, we win as a team and we lose as a team.
“Overall, the car was great this weekend and Valtteri did a great job today. If we can continue to perform like that over the next few races, we’ll be in a good position come the end of the season.”