Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas ended a 378 day victory drought with a dominant drive to win 2021 Turkish Grand Prix from pole position.
Bottas led comfortably from pole until he pitted on Lap 38 before chasing down Charles Leclerc to regain the lead on Lap 47, from which he sped away to his first win since 2020 Russian Grand Prix – exactly 378 days ago.
Max Verstappen finished second ahead of Sergio Perez as Leclerc finished fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who had started the race from 11th on the grid after taking a new Internal Combustion Engine this weekend.
Pierre Gasly overcame a time penalty to finish sixth ahead of Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon, – with Ocon the only driver to go from lights to flag on intermediate tyres.
In the drivers’ standings, Verstappen regained the championship lead by outscoring Hamilton by eight points which means that the 24 year-old heads to USA with a six point lead in the title fight.
Mercedes meanwhile now hold a 36 point lead over Red Bull in the fight for the constructors’ title.
Pre-race, McLaren elected to change Daniel Ricciardo’s power unit following his Q1 exit which meant that he joined Carlos Sainz at the back of the grid.
Overnight rain meanwhile lingered throughout the morning into early afternoon, which left a damp track at the beginning of the race, as Bottas made a clean start to lead Verstappen and Leclerc.
Just behind the front three, Perez made a bright start from sixth to dive up inside of Turn One and squeezed Gasly, who understeered into Fernando Alonso on outside who spun down to 16th, before tagging Mick Schumacher who spun.
Gasly was handed a five second time penalty for his incident and likewise for Alonso following his clash with Schumacher.
Hamilton meanwhile improved from 11th to ninth but found himself stuck behind Yuki Tsunoda until he made an outside move on the Japanese at Turn Four on Lap Eight, before quickly reeling off Stroll and Norris to put himself sixth by the end of Lap 10.
Hamilton eventually got Gasly for fifth on Lap 14 as the top five thereafter settled into a holding pattern, despite the reigning champion pushing forward on a charge.
Sainz meanwhile charged through from 19th on the grid to find himself ninth by the end of Lap 17 after overtaking Tsunoda.
Up front, Hamilton had caught Perez by Lap 34 and the pair battled through the final chicane with Perez running wide and controversially rejoining by crossing the pit entry line without penalty, before out dragging Hamilton on the inside into Turn One to retain fourth.
Several drivers decided to pit between laps 37-40 with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel paying the ultimate price for a gamble on medium tyres as he fell from tenth to 18th, where he finished at the flag following a second stop.
Leclerc meanwhile stayed out but Bottas was able to rapidly reel him and made the race-winning overtake with a late braking move on Lap 47 into Turn One.
Ferrari consequently pitted Leclerc at the end of that lap but he struggled to switch the fresh intermediates on, as Perez caught and passed the Monegasque for fourth on Lap 51 round the outside of Turn 12.
Hamilton meanwhile wanted to gamble on staying out until the checkered flag in third place but Mercedes instructed him to stop at the end of Lap 51, which proved costly as he struggled with graining on fresh intermediate tyres.
Bottas meanwhile stormed away up front to his first F1 victory in 378 days since 202 Russian Grand Prix as Verstappen finished second, ahead of Perez, Leclerc, Hamilton, Gasly, Norris, Sainz, Stroll and Ocon who completed the top ten.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||58||1h 31m 04.103|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||58||+ 14.584|
|3||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||58||+ 33.471|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||58||+ 37.814|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||58||+ 41.812|
|6||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||58||+ 44.292|
|7||Lando Norris||McLaren||58||+ 47.213|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||58||+ 51.526|
|9||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||58||+ 82.018|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||57||+ 1 Lap|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||57||+ 1 Lap|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||57||+ 1 Lap|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||57||+ 1 Lap|
|14||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||57||+ 1 Lap|
|15||George Russell||Williams||57||+ 1 Lap|
|16||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||57||+ 1 Lap|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||57||+ 1 Lap|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||57||+ 1 Lap|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||56||+ 2 Laps|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||56||+ 2 Laps|
*Starts P2 for tomorrow’s race