Turkish GP
October 08 - October 10, 2021
Istanbul Racing Circuit
Race Winner
Valtteri Bottas
1 Pit
Free Practice 1
Free Practice 2
Free Practice 3

Verstappen takes championship lead as Bottas wins Turkish GP

Valtteri Bottas claimed a comfortable win at the Turkish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen, who moved ahead of Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the championship by six points. 

Hamilton had to settle for fifth position in the other Mercedes. The seven-time world champion was left berating Mercedes for a late pit stop which saw him drop from third to fifth position -- the equivalent of five championship points -- when the team called him in to change the intermediate tyres he had started the race on.

Hamilton felt he could take them to the end of the race and felt the stop needlessly cost him two positions. 

Hamilton had fought back from 11th on the grid, following a 10-place engine penalty Mercedes incurred ahead of the weekend. 

As it was, Mercedes still claimed a win, Bottas' first since last year's Russian Grand Prix. Bottas, who is leaving Mercedes for Alfa Romeo next year, led into Turn 1 and only gave up the lead when Ferrari's Charles Leclerc extended his first stint. Bottas easily passed the Ferrari driver on track 11 laps from the finish. 

Bottas shared the podium with both Red Bull drivers. Sergio Perez's third-place finish was his first podium finish since June's French Grand Prix. 

The highlight of Perez's race was a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle with Hamilton on lap 38 which lasted for five corners, in which he kept the reigning champion behind. It stopped Hamilton's progress at a crucial point in the race, a timely return to form for the Mexican driver and potentially significant moment in the context of both the drivers' and constructors' championship battles. 

Leclerc had led for a handful of laps in the closing stages after staying out for a spell on his intermediates, but after locking up twice on lap 44 it quickly became obvious he wouldn't make it to the end of the race on that set. 

After making his own late stop, Hamilton emerged just in front of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly. Gasly finished sixth despite a harsh five-second time penalty at the start of the race for what looked like an unavoidable collision with Fernando Alonso at Turn 1. 

The incident spun Alonso around and knocked him out of contention when a strong result had looked to be on the cards for Alpine. 

Lando Norris finished seventh for McLaren ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who completed an impressive recovery drive through the field from 19th on the grid. 

Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon rounded out the points paying positions. 

There was no major drama in the race, although Sebastian Vettel provided some entertainment after his first pit stop when he gambled on a switch to slick tyres when the track did not appear to be dry enough for that change.

Vettel struggled to keep his car pointing in the right direction and immediately changed back to intermediates, but the damage had been done, with the four-time world champion finishing in 18th ahead of the Haas pair.