Valtteri Bottas won the Turkish Grand Prix, ending a year-long winless drought after leading most of the race from pole position.Max Verstappen finished second to take a six point lead in the championship, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who finished fifth following a late pit stop.
Rainfall earlier in the morning soaked the course with water, and light showers persisted throughout the day. All twenty cars started the race on the intermediate tyres. To their credit, it was a mostly clean opening lap – though not entirely without incident.
Pierre Gasly picked up a five second time penalty for avoidable contact with Fernando Alonso at the first corner. Alonso, who dropped to the back of the field after a spin, then picked up a five second penalty of his own when he hit Mick Schumacher and spun the Haas driver out.
All of the leaders were content to run their single set of intermediates, potentially as long as to the end of the race. That changed on lap 37, when Verstappen made a stop to switch to a new set of intermediates.
Bottas pitted from the lead on the next lap. Aston Martin even felt confident enough to send Sebastian Vettel out on a set of medium compound slick tyres, but the track was still far too wet for the gamble to pay off at all.
Charles Leclerc took the lead after Bottas’ pit stop. Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, and Esteban Ocon were the last of the front runners running on their first set of tyres. At the front, Leclerc began to haemorrhage time to Bottas on his worn set of intermediates, setting Bottas up for a chance to re-take the lead with a lunge up the inside of turn one on lap 47. Leclerc finally pitted at the end of the lap, and much to the seven-time world champion’s reluctance, Hamilton made his stop on lap 51.
Hamilton continued to protest the decision to pit with eight laps to go. He dropped into fifth place behind Leclerc, with Gasly gaining on him in sixth. Hamilton could not make any forward progress as he suffered with graining in his new set of intermediates.
Bottas, at the front, stretched his lead out to over ten seconds – and after spinning off five times in last year’s Turkish Grand Prix, he drove to a commanding first win of the 2021 season by 14.5 seconds; Verstappen finished second to take the championship lead, and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez finished in third, for his first podium since the French Grand Prix.
Leclerc held on to fourth, ahead of Hamilton in fifth, Gasly sixth, and Lando Norris in seventh.
Carlos Sainz Jnr was voted Driver of the Day are completing his drive from 19th on the grid after a pre-event power unit change, up into eighth place. Lance Stroll finished ninth and Esteban Ocon, the only driver to run the full distance without stopping, held off Antonio Giovinazzi for the final point in tenth.
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2021 Turkish Grand Prix reaction
- Fifth place was possible from back row without slow pit stop – Sainz
- Giovinazzi ignoring position swap order was “not ideal”, admit team
- Medical Car driver van der Merwe likely to miss further races due to Covid-19 rules
- Drivers to ask Masi why Alonso and Norris went unpunished for “very clear” incidents
- Hamilton’s radio frustration was to be expected – Mercedes
- Alfa Romeo fail to score again as Giovinazzi ignores order to let Raikkonen past
- Mazepin “extremely sorry” for close call with Hamilton
- Ocon’s non-stop strategy shows pitting Hamilton was correct call – Mercedes
- Verstappen wary Mercedes have “stepped it up” despite taking points lead
- Radio transcript: How Hamilton’s plan to delay his pit stop backfired
- “Incredibly impressive” Mercedes straight-line speed alarms Red Bull
- Ocon could see tyre damage: “One more lap and I would have got a puncture”
- Leclerc has “no regrets” after losing podium with strategy gamble
- Alteration to stewards’ verdict explains Gasly’s stiff penalty for Alonso clash
- Aston Martin “had to try” switch to slick tyres – Vettel
- Tsunoda says he “wants Max to win” and tried to keep Hamilton behind for longer
- Alonso apologises and accepts penalty after Schumacher collision
- Better result was possible for Hamilton if we pitted earlier – Mercedes
- Gasly says ‘I don’t know where else I could have gone’ after Alonso clash penalty
- We should have pitted earlier or not at all – Hamilton
- Turkish GP win ‘probably one of my best races’ – Bottas
- Alonso collects two penalty points after Schumacher clash
- Gasly given two penalty points for first-corner collision with Alonso