Valtteri Bottas ended his year-long drought with a dominant victory in Turkey on Sunday, while hapless Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton finished fifth and lost the Formula 1 championship lead to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Verstappen, 24, finished second, 14.584 seconds behind the Finn in wet Istanbul Park, offsetting Hamilton’s two-point deficit and a six-point lead in the six races remaining.
Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez finished third, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished fourth and ahead of seven-time world champion Hamilton, who started 11th due to engine malfunction.
“It was a long time ago, but I feel good. I think, for my part, is probably one of the best races I’ve ever done, ”said Bottas.
The Finn’s victory was the first after Russia in September last year.
Verstappen, who started in the front row, had a calm race and said that it was all about the tire management.
“I am happy to be on the podium. I think the whole year has been close and I’m pretty sure it will be a good fight with Mercedes in Austin, so we just have to keep pushing, keep trying, ”he said.
The US Grand Prix in Texas is the next race to be held on October 24th.
Hamilton may have been on the podium as well, but Mercedes challenged him, contrary to his opinion, due to a late stop from third place behind a new set of intermediate tires with a drying track.
“We shouldn’t have come in a person. Massive (tire) grit. I told you, ”said the angry Briton in heated conversations on the radio when he realized that he had lost two places in the pits.
He later noted that climber Esteban Ocon, who finished 10th, managed to extend one set of tires for the entire race.
Had he stayed and finished third, Hamilton would be just one point behind Verstappen.
“We thought we could finish third without stopping, or if there is a dry line, we might switch to a soft tire,” said Mercedes team leader Toto Wolff.
“Then we saw Leclerc leaving and Lewis leaving, and it was clear that we would not make it to the end.”
Spaniard Carlos Sainz was named the best driver of the day for the fact that due to penalties, the power unit moved to eighth place for Ferrari.
Results, achievements: 1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1: 04/31/103; 2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) 14.584; 3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing) 33 471; 4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 37.814; 5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 41.812; 6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) 44,292; 7. Lando Norris (McLaren) 47,213; 8. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari) 51,526; 9. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) 1.22.018; +1 circle: 10. Esteban Ocon (Mountaineer); 11. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo); 12. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo); 13. Daniel Riccardo (McLaren); 14. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri); 15. George Russell (Williams); 16. Fernando Alonso (climber); 17. Nicholas Latifi (Williams); 18. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin); +2 circles: 19. Mick Schumacher (Haas); 20. Nikita Mazepin (Haas).
Position: Pilots: 1. Verstappen 262.5; 2. Hamilton 256.5; 3. Bottas 177; 4. Norris 145; 5. Perez 135; Constructors: 1. Mercedes 433.5; 2. Red Bull 397.5; 3. McLaren 240; 4. Ferrari 232.5; 5. Alpine 104…