Turkey F1 GP 2021: Bottas dominates and Verstappen takes back the lead in Istanbul

Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) has claimed his first victory of the season and tenth of his Formula 1 career at the Turkish GP 2021 this Sunday in Istanbul. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) finished second behind the dominant Finn. His underperforming RB16B, however, prevented him to stand up to the German car but allowed him to regain the leadership of the standings. 

Verstappen’s Mexican teammate completed the podium. In a great team effort, Checo Perez blocked Lewis Hamilton’s comeback, forcing him into a fifth-place finish, just behind Charles Leclerc (Ferrari). 

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This result has cost the Englishman the lead of the championship, just two weeks after conquering it in Russia. With six appointments remaining in the season Hamilton is now six points behind Verstappen.  

One place down came Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) who had received a five-second penalty after touching Fernando Alonso (Alpine) on the opening lap. The sanction prevented him from making the most of his three-place start but, in the end, he managed to save face. 

Lando Norris (McLaren) saw the checkered flag in seventh place after a somewhat tepid performance. The Woking cars don’t seem to have found their rhythm this weekend.

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His former teammate, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), on the other hand, had quite the opposite experience after climbing eleven positions from 19th to 8th and been given the unofficial title of ‘driver of the day‘.  

Besides Perez’s exceptional defence, the other determinant aspect to the 2021 F1 Turkish GP was the condition of the track. The race started dry but the asphalt was wet with the mere environmental humidity and the cloud cover over the racetrack.

Because of this, all cars started on medium compounds, which they were able to keep until the final phase of the race thanks to the low degradation of the asphalt.

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Hamilton overstretched his pit-stop, becoming the last one of the favourites to change tyres. He was, in any case, able to defend himself from Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) and Lando Norris (McLaren) in the final laps. The latter finished sixth and seventh, respectively. 

All in all, an extraordinary victory for Bottas, who has not yielded an inch to Verstappen. The Scandinavian driver has dominated the Turkish GP from start to finish.  Aware of his inferiority, the Dutchman could do nothing but settle for second place. If he had been able to pass the #77 at the start, he would have stood a better chance to win. His teammate Perez, on the other hand, has offered one of the most remarkable performances of the day. 

Positive day for Mercedes

Despite giving up the lead in the Drivers’ standings, the German team leaves Turkey on a positive note. Overall, they were far superior to their Austrian rivals throughout the weekend.  Mercedes’ current disadvantage is very much anecdotical, especially considering that Hamilton has from this race on a new engine. Besides, leads Constructores´ Standings with 397,5 points, 33 more than Red Bull. 
The team of the energy drink, however, may be concerned about their evident inferiority at the Ottoman round. Before commanding the standings again, they must rise up to the performance level of their German rivals. 

Images of Turkish F1 GP 2021: Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas.

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