15/04/2024

2021 Turkish Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas. (Photo: F1/Twitter)

Valtteri Bottas has won his first race of the season at the Turkish Grand Prix, while Max Verstappen now leads the Drivers Championship once again.

Valtteri Bottas has become the sixth driver to win a Grand Prix this season, claiming his first victory of 2021 in wet conditions at Istanbul Park.

Bottas was solid all day long, remaining in a commanding position for the majority of the race after starting in pole position.

The Finnish driver was able to remain in first after the chaos of the race start and held first until lap 38, when he came into pit. After coming out in second place from the pit stop, he spent the next nine laps chasing then-race-leader Charles Leclerc. On lap 47, Bottas was able to get the job done and re-take the lead.

From there, he remained in first until he crossed the finish line to give Mercedes their sixth win of the season and Bottas his 10th career win.

Post-race, Bottas was over-joyed with his performance in tough racing conditions.

“It’s been a while. It feels good. From my side, that’s one of the best races I’ve had. It’s not easy to choose the strategy here in these conditions. It feels like a well-earned victory,” he said.

Verstappen regains championship lead, Perez scores podium

Red Bull will leave Turkey pleased with the result, having both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finish on the podium in second and third place.

The result is even more pleasing for Verstappen, who has down reversed the two-point lead Lewis Hamilton had over him at the start of the weekend, now leading by six points in the Drivers Championship.

There was little action for Verstappen who remained in the top three for the whole race, however the same cannot be said for his teammate Perez, who started in fifth.

After a handful of underwhelming results for the Mexican in recent Grand Prixes, he made sure that was not the case today, battling hard to earn his third-place result.

His biggest challenge came on lap 34 where he and Lewis Hamilton battled for fourth, going wheel to wheel with Hamilton almost sneaking past before Perez was able to hold the position.

With the result, Perez earns his first podium since the French Grand Prix and his third podium finish of the season.

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Not Hamilton’s Day

It was a frustrating day for seven-time world champion Hamilton, who had begun the weekend already on the backfoot. Despite qualifying fastest, he did not start the race in pole position, instead, starting in 11th after receiving a 10-place grid penalty for taking a new internal combustion engine.

Despite the disadvantage, Hamilton appeared determined to keep his hopes of an eighth world title alive, climbing up the grid quickly from the start of the race.

Hamilton was a man on a mission to start the race, picking off each driver one by one, getting past the likes of Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll and Lando Norris within the space of a few laps. By lap 12, Hamilton found himself in sixth, before getting past Pierre Gasly to move into fifth where he remained for a while.

With Perez and Leclerc opting to pit on lap 38 and 48, Hamilton was able to get into third place behind rival Verstappen. At this stage, Hamilton was yet to pit, despite his team trying to get him to pit, as he felt he could maintain his pace and finish in third.

Hamilton finally gave into his team’s request on lap 51 and pitted, coming out in fifth place. Hamilton was furious with his team’s decision, as this allowed for Perez to get onto the podium and created a much larger gap between him and Verstappen.

If Hamilton did not pit and remained third, the gap between him and Verstappen would have been one point but instead resulted in being six.

With still six races remaining, there are plenty of opportunities for Hamilton to regain his lead in the Drivers Championship.

Ricciardo unable to get going

It was a disappointing result for Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the race in 13th place.

After two strong results at Monza and Sochi, the hope leading into the weekend was Ricciardo could continue his good form, however this was soon proven not to be the case after qualifying in 16th.

McLaren then made the decision to give Ricciardo a new power unit which resulted in him starting the race in last place.

The race start was promising, with Ricciardo able to get past the slower Williams and Haas cars on the opening few laps before getting stuck behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. The two jostled for places but Sainz was able to remain ahead.

Warning signs began to show when Sainz started moving up the grid however Ricciardo was unable to follow suit, remain in 16th for the first 20 laps.

McLaren then decided to pit Ricciardo on lap 22 in the hope that as all the other cars pitted, he would be able to climb up the grid. This strategy appeared to work with Ricciardo getting as high as 11th.

However, it was heartbreak on the final lap with both Alfa Romeo cars overtaking Ricciardo, resulting in him falling to 13th where he finished the race.

Overall, it was a disappointing weekend for McLaren with Ricciardo’s teammate, Norris, only able to finish seventh.

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